The 2012 Republican platform on abortion states the party's opposition to the procedure in strong language. It supports a constitutional "human life amendment" banning abortion, for example, and opposes the use of any taxpayer money to subsidize health insurance programs that cover the procedure.
The Republican Party's platform on abortion calls for an end to the procedure under all circumstances and contains no exceptions for ending pregnancies causes by rape or incest. The strict terms of the platform put the party at odds with 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who support such exceptions.
Republican Party officials said publicly that the platform document was not written with the intention of going into specific detail about exceptions, and that the GOP intended those issues to be left up to individual states. The wording of the party's 2012 platform on abortion is similar to those included in the document in 2004 and 2008.
Republican Platform Wording on Abortion
The Republican Party platform was approved at the Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Fla., in August 2012. The 2012 Republican platform on abortion opens with this phrase:
"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. 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."
Mitt Romney on Abortion
That lack of exceptions written into the 2012 Republican platform on abortion appeared to put the party at odds with Romney and his running-mate. Romney has said he believes abortion should be outlawed but that he would allow victims of incest or rape to seek abortions legally. He would also allow the procedure in cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy."My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother," Romney said in an August 2012 interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.
Paul Ryan on Abortion
Ryan's position on abortion differs from that of his running mate in that he appears, based on public statements, not to support exceptions for rape and incest. Ryan has said he believes "the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life." Like Romney, though, he does support allowing women to seek abortions if their lives are in jeopardy.
In an August 2012 television interview, Ryan said:
"I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that — the position that — the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life. But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy. And the president — in this case the future President Mitt Romney — has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now."
Ryan has described himself as being "as pro-life as a person gets" and co-authored, along with Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, The Sanctity of Human Life Act. The legislation states that a fertilized egg "shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."
Full Platform on Abortion
Here is the party's full platform statement on abortion, included in a subsection titled The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life:
"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. 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. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.
"Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
"We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives."