Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has experienced a firestorm of criticism over the past few days as a result of some ill-advised comments where he attempted to justify his stance against abortion in all circumstances, even in cases of rape. But while Republican leaders, including GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, have condemned Akin's statement and have even encouraged him to end his current campaign for the U.S. Senate, the congressman's views on abortion are, in fact, completely in line with the Republican Party's.
In fact, the GOP has included that position as part of its official party platform since 2004.
The Republican National Committee's 2012 platform, while predictably pro-life, opposes abortion in all cases except for when a woman's life is in danger. Democrats have been quick to pounce of that fact since Akin's comments -- when he asserted that women who are the victim's of "legitimate rape" cannot physiologically become pregnant -- brought women's issues, once again, to the forefront of the 2012 election cycle.
Although that stance has been a part of the Republican platform for eight years, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Party, said it is a reflection of policies championed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney because "this is his platform that was written at his campaign's direction."
Romney, unlike the GOP platform, has said he would allow abortions in case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
The rest of the proposed 2012 platform contains strict pro-life, pro-defense and traditional marriage planks that led platform committee member Russ Walker to tell The Washington Times the current version "appears to be the most conservative platform in modern history."
Some of the highlights include:
- A "Human Life Amendment" that would, in addition to prohibiting abortion without exceptions for rape and incest, ban drugs that end pregnancy after conception.
- No legal recognition for same-sex couples. The RNC draft rejects civil unions, along with any language that affirms the legal equality of gay and lesbian couples.
- Ban on women in combat. With regards to defense, the RNC condemns what it calls "social experimentation" and opposes women's inclusion in direct combat units and infantry battalions.
- Audit the Federal Reserve. The pet cause of Rep. Ron Paul has now been embraced by GOP leaders. For the first time the platform calls for an annual audit of the Federal Reserve.
- More Arizona-style immigration laws. Politico reports the Republican platform committee adopted language calling for the completion of a border fence, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and an end to "sanctuary cities."
- New taxes banned, except for war. The platform calls for a constitutional amendment that would require a super-majority for any tax increases, with exceptions for war and national emergencies.
- Freedom of religion (sort of). The RNC supports "the public display of the Ten Commandment s as a reflection of our history and our country's Judeo-Christian heritage." It also calls for permitting school prayer in public school events.
The RNC's 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternatives will assemble in Tampa, Florida, next Monday, where they will be asked to vote up or down on the proposed party platform.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...