Trump billboard

The Democratic National Committee launched a billboard highlighting former President Donald Trump's attacks on abortion rights on June 22, 2023 in New York City.

(Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for DNC)

Abortion Rights Defenders Say Don't Be Fooled by GOP Platform Change

"Voters don't want abortion bans," said one advocate. "Republicans know it and this plan shows just how desperate Trump and the MAGA GOP are to strip away our reproductive freedom."

Reproductive freedom advocates on Monday warned against trusting the Republican Party, whose 2024 policy platform now "reads like the transcript" from one of former U.S. President Donald Trump's rallies—including its section on abortion.

"Republicans want to criminalize abortion care and impose a nationwide ban," declared U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). "The far-right extremists lied to the American people about respecting the precedent of Roe v. Wade. They are lying once again."

Trump, a frequent liar, attacked reproductive freedom as president and has bragged about appointing half of the U.S. Supreme Court justices who reversedRoe with a Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling that paved the way for strict bans in over a dozen states.

However, Trump has also tried to distance himself from some extreme and devastating policies, recognizing them as politically risky as he runs for the White House against embattled President Joe Biden, a Democrat campaigning on his support for reproductive rights.

The GOP abortion policy appears on the second-to-last page of the 2024 platform, released just a week before the Republican National Convention is set to kick off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It states:

Republicans Will Protect and Defend a Vote of the People, from within the States, on the Issue of Life
We proudly stand for families and Life. We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied Life or Liberty without Due Process, and that the States are, therefore, free to pass Laws protecting those 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).

Trump says he supports states making abortion policies. The Associated Pressreported that the platform reflects his position, "omitting the explicit basis for a national ban for the first time in 40 years."

According toPolitico, "Trump didn't just edit the platform language, but wrote some parts of the 15-page draft himself."

The Republican National Committee's (RNC) platform panel approved the document in an 84-18 vote, notedThe New York Times, which added that Trump "was especially focused on softening the language on abortion."

In response to the Times reporting, journalist Paul Blest asserted on social media that "this is such a ridiculous framing on this story about the Republican platform."

"The platform didn't soften the abortion [stance], it just didn't mention it, and the people whose job is to advocate for abortion bans are totally fine with it," Blest continued. "Why do you think that would be?"

"If there's a landslide thanks to Biden's hubris you can bet the GOP will try to jam through a 15-week ban, then a 12-week ban, then a six-week ban, then a full ban with exceptions, then a full ban with no exceptions," he warned. "Whether the platform says it or not."

University of Texas law professor Liz Sepper explained what is included in the platform, saying: "Y'all, the RNC draft platform does not 'moderate' on abortion. It commits to constitutional personhood for fetuses. It takes the view that it is not a mere statute but rather the Constitution that bans abortion nationwide."

"Allow me to anti-abortion translate: The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects life of fetuses," Sepper said. "With Roe, states could not so legislate. After Dobbs, they can legislate this view. And the 14th Amendment prohibits denial of fetal life IN ALL STATES."

"This is commitment to full constitutional personhood for blastocysts/embryos/fetuses," she continued. "That is, the RNC is committing to ensure embryos have rights equal to a full human person. There is no universe where embryos have constitutional rights and IVF can still happen on any scale."

Addressing the platform in an email, Biden's campaign said that "in a desperate attempt to conceal his extreme stance on abortion, Donald Trump directed the RNC to hide the ball on their unpopular plans to ban abortion nationwide—with or without Congress."

"Trump has endorsed every extreme abortion ban, including those with no exceptions for rape or incest, and has even said states should have the right to punish and prosecute women who have an abortion and monitor their pregnancies," the campaign added. "No one is buying Trump's sudden backtracking, including his fellow abortion banners."

The Biden campaign and other critics highlighted praise for the platform from leaders of anti-choice groups including Americans United for Life, Students for Life of America, and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Meanwhile, Mini Timmaraju, who leads Reproductive Freedom for All, said that "the GOP wants to ban abortion nationwide—and their platform shows that they'll try to use the 14th Amendment to do it."

"Voters don't want abortion bans," she emphasized. "Republicans know it and this plan shows just how desperate Trump and the MAGA GOP are to strip away our reproductive freedom."

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