The Washington Post

GOP platform: Abortion is bad for women’s ‘health and well-being’

The 2012 Republican platform uses some of the same language on abortion that the party has supported since 1984, supporting legislation that would give 14th amendments rights to "unborn children," effectively outlawing abortion.

It also endorsed something new: For the first time ever, the Republican platform includes language making the case that abortion is bad for a woman's "health and well-being."

Anti-abortion group Americans United for Life passed along the new language.

"Through Obamacare, the Obama Administration has promoted the notion that abortion is healthcare," it reads.  "We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women and we stand firmly against it.

AUL Action President Chairmaine Yoest says this is something her group has been working toward  for a while. They have filed numerous amicus briefs that outline research on the relationship between abortion and women's health.

"We're just very excited because we feel like this is something that we've been working for a long time to establish data on," Yoest says. "We filed several amicus briefs that were all working to establish this idea in the public record."

They filed one such amicus brief in an Illinois lawsuit, over parental involvement laws, that detailed the body of evidence linking abortion and women's health issues. Some of those studies found higher rates of depression among women shortly after an abortion; other research they cite finds a connection to other mental health issues.

The connection between women's health and abortion is, it's worth noting, highly disputed. NARAL Pro-Choice America and other abortion rights group have pushed back against these claims. NARAL cites one federal review, of 250 studies on abortion, that found “the data do not support the premise that abortion does or does not cause or contribute to psychological problems."

Having Republicans endorse the link between women's health and abortion, Yoest says, is a step forward for her group — and it could factor into the 2012 election.

"When you think about the political context of the discussion of women's health that we're engaged in," Yoest says, "it's very important to establish, for the Republican party, this foundational argument that there really are harms for women."

Yoest adds: "It rounds out the pro-life position by putting a marker down to say, here's why being pro-life is a pro-woman position."



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Ezra Klein · August 23, 2012