Even as the Republican establishment continued to call for Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri to drop out of his Senate race because of his comments on rape and abortion, Republicans approved platform language Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The anti-abortion plank, approved by the Republican platform committee Tuesday morning in Tampa, Fla., was similar to the planks that Republicans have included in their recent party platforms, which also called for a constitutional ban on abortions. The full convention is set to vote on the party’s platform Monday.
While Republican officials stressed that the plank does not go into granular details, saying that they are better left to the states, the language of the plank seems to leave little room for exceptions to the abortion ban. It states that ‘‘the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.’’
‘‘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,’’ said the draft platform language approved Tuesday, which was first reported by CNN. ‘‘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 timing of the approval of the Republican anti-abortion plank was awkward for Mitt Romney, who has denounced Akin’s comments about rape and abortion and who has said that he supports exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape. And it comes as his selection of his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, was already drawing scrutiny for his support for a more absolute ban on abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.
After this year’s abortion plank language was approved with little debate, the chairman of the platform committee, Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, praised the committee for ‘‘affirming our respect for human life’’ and for doing so expeditiously.