Anti-abortion groups back RNC platform despite scaled-back language

Anti-abortion groups are backing the GOP’s official 2024 platform after previously warning the Trump campaign against watering down language on abortion. 

The groups lauded some of the specific language regarding the 14th Amendment approved Monday by a Republican National Committee (RNC) panel, after spending months lobbying against it. 

The platform language echoes former President Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states approach. It doesn’t call for giving embryos or fetuses constitutional rights, nor does it endorse a national abortion ban.  

Major anti-abortion advocates previously argued that weakening the platform would be abandoning all the progress the movement has made at limiting access to the procedure and would risk a divide among the party when they should be united.  

The Republican Party’s platform has long condemned abortion and expressed support for a national ban. This year marked the first time the party updated its platform since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and anti-abortion advocates were eager to make their mark.  

In 2016, the platform backed “a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”  

It included language opposing any public funding to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations such as Planned Parenthood. 

It also called for a national ban on abortion, with some exceptions, after about 20 weeks of gestation. 

But in an apparent nod to the Trump campaign’s desire not to be pinned down on endorsing specific limits, the new platform instead says states are “free to pass laws” protecting 14th Amendment rights. 

“After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the States and to a vote of the People. We will oppose Late Term Abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance Prenatal Care, access to Birth Control, and IVF (fertility treatments),” the platform states. 

Anti-abortion groups said the 14th Amendment language is key, despite the state-centric approach. 

“It is important that the GOP reaffirmed its commitment to protect unborn life today through the 14th Amendment. Under this amendment, it is Congress that enacts and enforces its provisions. The Republican Party remains strongly pro-life at the national level,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.  

Last week, Dannenfelser had warned that moderating the 2016 language “would be a miscalculation that would hurt party unity and destroy pro-life enthusiasm between now and the election.” 

Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins said the explicit nod to 14th Amendment protections is “the most significant contribution that the GOP platform makes for life.” 

Hawkins said that since the platform was so state focused, she wants Trump to urge voters to reject state abortion rights ballot measures “beginning in Florida where he visits tomorrow.” 

John Mize, CEO of Americans United for Life, in a statement noted the Republican platform “has historically stood for the rights of preborn children and we’re happy to see that this election cycle will be no different.” 

He said his group worked closely with the RNC on developing the platform language to reflect the post-Roe world. 

“We remain enthusiastic about the need to focus on winning hearts and minds on the abortion issue in the states, while at the same time uplifting women and families with federal policy that makes having and raising children an easier equation in our current economic and inflationary situation,” Mize said.