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Did the Republican Party just adopt the 'most pro-life platform ever'?

Posted July 26

The Republican Party officially adopted the "most pro-life platform ever" last week, according to at least two conservative organizations that commented on the newly released document detailing the GOP's 2016 guiding principles.

Under a subheader titled "The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Human Life," text in the platform proclaims that the U.S.Constitution guarantees "no one can 'be deprived of life, liberty or property'" — a line that is then tied to the Declaration of Independence's message about every person being "endowed by their Creator."

The Republicans' message? The rights of the unborn should be protected.

"We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed," the document reads. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth."

The document goes on to fervently oppose public funding for organizations that perform or promote abortion, specifically mentioning controversial health-care organization Planned Parenthood by name.

As has been extensively reported, Planned Parenthood came under fire last year after a series of undercover videos purported to show the sale of fetal body parts — accusations that the women's health organization has repeatedly denied.

The platform, thus, calls for opposing public funds for groups that "provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide health care," though it does call for funding for ultrasounds and adoption services.

"We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts," the text continues.

Rather than simply oppose abortion, the Republican document calls for people to come alongside women who face unplanned pregnancies and urges the passage of legislation that would make a child "equally borne" to a mother and father — a paradigm that would place equal responsibility on both parents.

The platform also calls for a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation, based on the claim that unborn babies can feel pain at that point in a pregnancy; the platform notes that more than 12 states have already passed such a measure.

"We support state and federal efforts against the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb," the text reads.

The document also makes it more than clear that Republicans believe that the "Democratic Party is extreme on abortion," saying that liberals' "almost limitless support for abortion" puts them out of step with the U.S. public at large.

But it isn't just the abortion issue that made its way into the 2016 Republican Party Platform, as the document also speaks out against doctor-assisted suicide as well as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

These elements of the platform led activist group Live Action to conclude that "the Republican Party officially ratified the most pro-life platform ever," noting that the adoption of the language could put some Republicans at ease who have worried that GOP candidate Donald Trump isn't strong enough on the abortion issue.

Trump's past abortion comments have certainly caused discussion and debate, specifically after he said earlier this year that there must be "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions — a position he later clarified.

While Trump says that he's pro-life today, in 1999 he proclaimed that — despite hating the concept of abortion — he was "very pro-choice." He has since said that his position changed, though, citing a personal story as the impetus for that ideological evolution. You can read a timeline of Trump's views on abortion here.

As for the Republican platform's pro-life sentiment, other groups also heralded the text, with the Susan B. Anthony List — an organization devoted to passing anti-abortion laws — also calling it "the most pro-life platform ever."

"The platform ratified today takes that stand from good to great," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. "Firstly, it is reflective of Donald Trump’s pro-life policy commitments to appoint pro-life Justices, to advocate for and sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and to defund America’s largest abortion business Planned Parenthood."

And while many are happy about the changes, others see the text in the platform as constraining or harming women's access to health care. The Huffington Post also charged the GOP with falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of selling body parts in the platform, despite investigations that found no wrongdoing.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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