The Republican party renews its official platform support for a "human life amendment" to the Constitution every presidential election season, much like normal folks who automatically renew their passport or insurance plan without thinking too much about it. Enduring protection of unborn children? Check! Soundbite about the sanctity of human life? Check! But everything got a little less perfunctory this time around, after Rep. Todd Akin caused Legitimate-RapeGate by telling the country that women's bodies wondrously protect them from getting pregnant after "legitimate rape," forcing the Romney-Ryan campaign to do some damage control by pledging that abortion would be allowed in the case of rape under a Romney administration.
Exceptions for rape (or incest/the life of the mother/Immaculate Conception/anything else) are not typically included in the official platform stance — and according to CNN, which got its hands on a draft last night, an exception for rape isn't part of the platform Romney will officially stand behind when he accepts the Republican nomination next week.
Here's what you do get in your time-honored "human life amendment" this year, which could also be called "This Is Basically Personhood, Suckers!":
- A pledge to be "faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence ... assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."
- Another (kind of redundant) pledge to "support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
- A reaffirmation to oppose federally-funded embryonic stem cell research, because innocent embryos > sinful fully-formed humans.
- A promise that the government will "not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage."
- As a fun extra: a "salute" to states pushing "informed consent" laws, which CNN describes as "an apparent reference to ultrasound bills that have moved through some state legislatures - 'mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation.'" Hey, Texas: your teen pregnancy rates might be rising faster than the earth's sea levels, but who cares about providing for low-income women when you get a SALUTE! That's what AMERICA is all about.
Here's what's not in it (among many, many things that are lacking): exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
The draft, which was written yesterday, still has to be approved by the full platform committee today and by delegates to the Republican National Convention next week. Is it possible that Romney's camp will try and sneak a rape exception in? Not if history repeats itself: when John McCain tried to add language to the platform back in 2008 to recognize exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, told him it would be "political suicide." Sure, in retrospect, the anti-abortion platform turned out to be the least of McCain's problems, but that still doesn't bode well for 2012.
Poor old Mittens. He's really between a rock and a hard place! On the one hand, he has massive numbers of anti-choicers hellbent on keeping the official stance intact in all its fetus-protecting purity. On the other, he has this little promise he made less than 48 hours ago. Romney's had no problem flip-flopping on abortion issues in the past, but this might be a stretch, even for him.
Update: The GOP approved the exception-less language.