RNC plans to conceal Trump’s and GOP’s abortion views in 2024 platform

Republicans consider removing a nationwide abortion ban from their party platform to improve electoral chances, despite intensified anti-abortion efforts since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Image Credit: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Republican National Committee (RNC) members are considering removing a policy plank calling for a nationwide abortion ban from their official party platform. This strategic omission is aimed at helping Donald Trump secure the White House this fall. Despite this potential change, the move does not signify a shift in the Republican Party’s views on reproductive rights. Since the Supreme Court’s far-right majority overturned Roe v. Wade, GOP lawmakers have doubled down on restricting abortion at both state and federal levels.

Platform committee members are meeting in Milwaukee this week, just seven days before the Republican National Convention is set to take place in the same city. For the first time in many election cycles, the committee has decided to conduct its deliberations behind closed doors, excluding members of the media and the public. Reports indicate that the Trump campaign has been particularly vocal about wanting to remove vehement anti-abortion language from the platform.

A memo from Trump’s campaign staffers last month outlined the rationale behind this strategic move: “Publishing an unnecessarily verbose treatise will provide more fuel for our opponent’s fire of misinformation and misrepresentation to voters. It is with that recognition that we will present a streamlined platform in line with President Trump’s principled and popular vision for America’s future.”

The omission of a nationwide abortion ban from the platform is seen as an effort to avoid alienating moderate voters in the upcoming election. Polling data suggests that this could be a wise strategy. A Gallup survey published in May revealed that only 12% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, down from 21% five years ago. Among swing state voters, a majority support abortion rights. A Public Religion Research Institute poll found that 64% of voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Despite his repeated statements of pride in appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe, Trump has recently tempered his public comments on abortion. He now advocates that abortion laws and regulations should be decided by individual states. This position is a stark contrast to his past assertions supporting a nationwide abortion ban. In his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump famously stated that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who receive abortions. Following backlash, he quickly altered his stance, taking five different positions within three days.

Earlier this year, Trump appeared to endorse a 15-week nationwide abortion ban. However, after facing widespread condemnation, he shifted his rhetoric to emphasize states’ rights on the issue. This calculated ambiguity aims to maintain support from his base while not driving away more moderate voters.

The GOP’s move to potentially omit a call for a national abortion ban has frustrated many anti-abortion groups who were planning to support Trump. Nevertheless, it also constitutes a form of gaslighting, as Trump has unequivocally supported a nationwide ban in the past. This strategic omission is expected to mitigate backlash from moderate voters who may be swayed by the Democratic campaign’s focus on protecting reproductive rights.

The Democratic Party is seizing the opportunity to highlight Trump’s and the GOP’s shifting stance on abortion. This week, the Biden campaign released an ad attacking Trump for his record on abortion, including his statements celebrating the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. The ad asks, “Who do you want in the White House? The man proud to overturn Roe v. Wade, or the president fighting for your rights?”

The Republican National Committee’s draft platform, set to be approved before the convention, reflects Trump’s influence. According to The New York Times, Trump personally edited the platform language, focusing on softening the stance on abortion. The platform, which appears on the second-to-last page of the document, reads: “We proudly stand for families and Life. We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied Life or Liberty without Due Process, and that the States are, therefore, free to pass Laws protecting those Rights.”

Critics argue that this language does not moderate the GOP’s position but rather reframes it. University of Texas law professor Liz Sepper pointed out that the platform commits to constitutional personhood for fetuses, which could pave the way for a nationwide abortion ban through judicial interpretation rather than legislative action.

Reproductive rights advocates warn against trusting the Republican Party’s revised platform. U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries stated, “Republicans want to criminalize abortion care and impose a nationwide ban. The far-right extremists lied to the American people about respecting the precedent of Roe v. Wade. They are lying once again.”


If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.