Strict anti-abortion language in GOP platform

TAMPA -- The Republican platform will continue to contain language endorsing a new constitutional amendment protecting "human life," language that is silent on the question of whether the party believes abortions should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

The GOP's platform has been unchanged on the issue for more than two decades. But the issue has received new attention after comments from Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri on abortion and rape. The GOP's platform committee in Tampa made no changes to draft language that calls for the "human life" plank and also endorses legislation that would acknowledge the rights of the unborn under the 14th amendment.

That language would seem to be incompatible with laws allowing abortion in any instances except if the life of the mother was endangered, but the platform does not specifically address the issue.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.), chair of the committee, said the platform was the result of hours of work in past years. He thanked the committee for "affirming our respect for human life" and quickly moved on to other issues. The platform must be adopted next week at the Republican National Convention.

UPDATE: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) wrote a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calling the anti-abortion language a "mistake because it fails to recognize the views of pro-choice Republicans like myself."

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.
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