Ted Cruz: ‘You have my word’ I’ll fight to save GOP’s pro-life plank
CLEVELAND, June 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz has personally vowed he will fight any efforts to water down the Republican Party's platform on the issue of abortion.
The Texas senator, who won 11 primaries and caucuses before suspending his presidential campaign on May 3, said that's the reason he's continuing to amass delegates and encourage a strong turnout at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this August.
“You have my word,” Sen. Cruz replied. “One of the reasons that we are continuing to work to elect conservatives to be delegates, even though Donald has the delegates to get the nomination, [is that] we intend to do everything we can to fight for conservative principles to prevent Washington forces from watering down the platform.”
"The platform is a manifestation of what we believe as a party,” Sen. Cruz continued, during the May 26 interview. “And I think it is important that it continue to reflect conservative values, free-market values, constitutional liberties, Judeo-Christian principles, the values that built this country, and that is exactly what I intend to fight for.”
Sen. Cruz's campaign had vowed to fight for life earlier this year. A month ago Ken Cuccinelli, who was Virginia's attorney general before working for the Cruz campaign this election cycle, wrote an e-mail telling the senator's supporters, “It is imperative that we fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices like yours.”
The possibility of a convention fight surfaced in April, when presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told NBC's “Today” show that he would “absolutely” like to liberalize the Republican Party's platform on abortion by explicitly including exceptions for rape and incest. The platform currently supports adding a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution but does not specify exceptions based on the circumstances of the unborn child's conception.
Richard Viguerie, a conservative activist with more than 50 years experience fighting intraparty battles, told LifeSiteNews at the time that Trump "has zero chance of accomplishing" that goal. “We are a pro-life party, and the Republican Party is not going to change that.”
The party's pro-life plank has been a perennial flashpoint between its socially conservative base and its more liberal leadership. For decades Ann Stone of Republicans for Choice, Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, and Gov. George Pataki among others led the charge to repeal the language altogether or change the party's position to one of neutrality.
Gov. Pataki, who supports abortion-on-demand, made a quixotic run for president this year, leaving the race without winning a single delegate. He announced last month he will not be a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Gov. Jeb Bush are also skipping the RNC. Both of them criticized rival candidates Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio for being too pro-life during the campaign, arguing that the GOP should embrace exceptions for rape and incest.
Gov. Chris Christie, the first of his former rivals to endorse Donald Trump, also attacked Cruz and Rubio on the issue. He is likely to have a strong role in the convention.