GOP Platform: Abortion, Marriage, Immigration Arise as Major Issues
Delegates meeting in Tampa ahead of next week's Republican National Convention have proposed a platform that by most standards, is considered one of the most conservative in recent memory. Fundamental issues such as language protecting the unborn, supporting traditional marriage and emphasizing the enforcement of immigration are just a few of the issues Republicans are including in the party document outlining its core principles.
Defending traditional marriage by keeping language that defined it as a union between one man and one woman was one of the first issues that occupied much of the committee's time.
Coming on the heels of President's Obama public support of same-sex marriage, Democrats – for the first time in the history of either major political party – have included gay marriage as a part of their party's platform. Like the president embracing homosexual marriage, it will not be known until November if the decision will have any impact on Democrats at the polls.
When party delegates addressed women's issues, they strengthened their platform by adding language that referenced Obamacare, which has become synonymous with the Affordable Care Act championed by the president during his first term.
"Through Obamacare, the Obama administration has promoted the notion that abortion is healthcare," reads a portion of the language referring to abortion. "We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women and we stand firmly against it."
Dr. Charmaine Yoest is the CEO of Americans United for Life Action and plans on attending the RNC next week in Tampa, detailing how "Life Counts," a pro-life program advanced by the group, will impact voters in the general election. She was also excited that the delegates strengthened the language dealing with abortion.
"By a two to one margin, voters choose life when that motivates their vote. Life is a winning issue," Yoest, said in a written statement. "And a pro-woman, pro-life platform continues to be affirmed in the GOP platform, thanks in part to efforts by AULA. Our team was active in drafting language that affirmed the fact that abortion harms women and in working to ensure that women's health was addressed in the platform. This platform shows a real concern for the dignity of women."
However, the language referring specifically to abortion does not include the three exceptions that Republicans find themselves debating in inner part discussions. Those include rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. Mitt Romney has said he supports all three.
Included in the three paragraphs that deal with abortion is language addressing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, legislation to ban sex-selective abortions, the opposition to the killing of embryos for stem cells and approval of informed consent laws.
On immigration issues, the GOP has taken a stance just as tough as the recent laws passed in Arizona and Alabama by suggesting that employers nationwide verify workers' legal status. They also included language in the platform that would deny federal financing to universities that allow students who are not legal immigrants to enroll at lower in-state tuition rates.
During the immigration discussions earlier this week in Tampa, GOP delegates came to an agreement calling for tougher border enforcement and opposing "any forms of amnesty" for illegal immigrants.
However, Romney, who is hoping to win a larger share of the Hispanic vote that Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) did in 2008, has distanced himself from similar party positions that have taken strong stances, instead saying he would consider supporting a version of the Dream Act for illegal immigrants who serve in the military.
The RNC platform will gain final approval soon after the party convenes in Tampa next week.