A week before the Republican National Convention begins in Tampa, the party is putting together a platform that is thus far adhering to Christian principles as they relate to marriage, homosexuality, abortion and conscience protections.
For instance, the platform will include opposition to all abortion, a position it has always held, and also supports a human life amendment to the Constitution.
“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
The party’s stance in favor of traditional marriage has also been strengthened to include support for a federal amendment that will define marriage as between a man and a woman. Unlike Democrats, who have included support for same-sex marriage in their platform, much to the consternation of many within their own party, the GOP platform does not support it, but includes language calling for homosexuals to be treated with “respect and dignity.”
Because of the threats to religious freedom that have been included in the president’s health care reform law, language was added to the platform defending the conscience rights of religious organizations and individuals as it relates to the health care plans they purchase. The GOP platform also states its opposition to any public funding of school health clinics that either promote or refer students for abortion.
Stronger language was also adopted in opposition to any public funding of embryonic stem cell research and calling for an outright ban on research that harms or destroys human embryos.
“What happens over these next two days could dramatically impact the direction of – not just the presidential campaign – but the entire Republican Party and the country,” wrote Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who is attending the platform sessions.
“We’ve already witnessed the power of the platform on the Democrats’ side, as they wrestle with the fallout of making same-sex ‘marriage’ an official party goal. Unlike the Left, conservatives aren’t interested in straying from the GOP’s roots – but that doesn’t mean Left-leaning groups won’t try.”
Even though the GOP’s abortion plank causes controversy every four years, this year the scrutiny is especially intense because of comments from Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who is running for a critical U.S. Senate seat, about abortion and “legitimate rape.”
During a television interview, Akin asserted that if a legitimate rape occurs, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
He added, “The punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Liberal politicians are using Akin’s comments and the GOP’s refusal to allow an exception for rape and incest in their abortion plank to continue accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women.”
However, the GOP platform does reflect Catholic teaching on the subject of abortion in the case of rape and incest, which it forbids even while calling for the ethical treatment of the victims of these crimes.
In accord with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, the care of rape victims must include spiritual and psychological care, full cooperation with law enforcement in prosecution of the rapist, treatment for all physical injuries, and the prevention of both pregnancy and the contraction of venereal diseases.
“A woman who has been raped may defend herself against a conception resulting from sexual assault,” the Directive states. “If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medication that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum”(no. 36).
The controversy will no doubt continue into next week when the GOP platform draft will have to be approved by the delegates at the Convention.
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