August 21: As Republican officials continue their attempts to persuade Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri to end his bid for the Senate over his comments about rape and abortion, GOP leaders adopted a party platform on Tuesday that calls for a constitutional amendment protecting “human life” but does not say whether exceptions should be allowed in cases of rape and incest.
According to a plank adopted by a 112-member Republican committee meeting here, an “unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life that cannot be infringed.” The platform also calls for legislation recognizing the rights of unborn children under the 14th Amendment.
That language would appear to be incompatible with exceptions when pregnancies result from rape or incest. But the draft does not specifically address the issue of exceptions, and party leaders here said that the issue is too complex to be addressed in what is intended to be a broad statement of party principle, and that it should be left up to states in a federal system.
“We have a general plank in there that affirms our belief in the God-given right to life and that governments are instituted to protect that,” said Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, chairman of the platform committee. “The specifics are largely left up to the states.”