Why reproductive rights have the GOP on the defensive

Updated
Why reproductive rights have the GOP on the defensive
Why reproductive rights have the GOP on the defensive
Maddow Blog chart based on CNN poll data

Late last week, the RNC’s Sean Spicer ran into some trouble when asked about rape and incest exemptions in his party’s national platform. He argued that the platform doesn’t explicitly say there can’t be exemptions, so who knows, maybe they exist.

As Tricia noted earlier, Virginia Gov. Bob “Ultrasound” McDonnell (R) was asked a similar question on ABC yesterday, and gave a similar answer. When George Stephanopoulos brought up the platform and its support for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, McDonnell, who oversaw the platform process, said, “The details certainly are left to Congress and, ultimately, to the states and the people on how they ratify such an amendment.”

As a factual matter, McDonnell and Spicer are simply wrong. The Republican platform demands a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions, regardless of, to use Paul Ryan’s phrase, “the method of conception.”

But why are McDonnell and Spicer lying about this? I have a hunch I know the answer.

I put together this chart based on the latest CNN poll (pdf), which asked respondents, “Now I am going to read some specific situations under which an abortion might be considered. For each one, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal.”

The results weren’t close – 88% believe abortion should be legal when a woman’s life is endangered, 83% believe abortion should be legal when a woman’s physical health is endangered, and 83% believe abortion should be legal when a pregnancy is caused by rape or incest.

In other words, the Akin/Paul-Ryan/GOP-platform position on abortion is really unpopular.

On Fox News yesterday, Mitt Romney expressed his frustration with Democrats trying to tie him to Akin, saying it’s “sad” for the Obama campaign to “stoop to such a low level.”

In reality, however, Akin’s position on the federal government forcing women to take their pregnancy to term if they are impregnated by a rapist has been embraced by Romney’s running mate and Romney’s platform. Democrats aren’t supposed to even mention this?

Reproductive Rights

Why reproductive rights have the GOP on the defensive

Updated