Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus sought to help distance Mitt Romney from the GOP’s farthest-right abortion platform in an appearance on Jansing & Co. Tuesday.
The RNC’s official platform will include, for the third presidential election in a row, a call for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion with no exception listed for cases of rape and incest and provide Fourteenth Amendment rights to “unborn children.” CNN, which first reported the news based on draft language of the RNC platform it received, noted it will also include opposition to embryonic stem cell research and a push to support the mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion that some states have enacted.
“This is the platform of the Republican Party. It’s not the platform of Mitt Romney,” Priebus said. “We’re a proud pro-life party.”
In the wake of Rep. Todd Akin's inflammatory comments on rape and abortion, Mitt Romney issued a statement Monday promising that his administration would be pro-life but allow for abortion in cases of rape. His running mate Paul Ryan is decidedly anti-abortion and supported "personhood" measures in the past.
Priebus has already joined his fellow GOP leadership in condemning the false remarks of congressman Akin. Monday night he suggested that Akin should “step aside and let someone else run” for the Missouri Senate seat this fall. “
“We all followed Mitt Romney’s lead yesterday,” Priebus said. “I think you saw complete and total unity on the Republican side of the aisle yesterday as to Akin.”
But in terms of how the GOP would have answered the original question put to Akin—would you allow abortion in the case of rape—Priebus noted those “details” vary by party member.
“As far as the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or the life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have,” he said.
Asked by host Chris Jansing whether or not such a hardline view on abortion was impacting Republicans’ ability to court women voters, Priebus countered that he believes the party’s anti-abortion stance is an asset.
“I don’t really buy the fact that the pro-abortion stance means that you’re pro-women,” he said. “I believe most women are pro-life, so I think the pro-life position is a positive for us with women.”
While a recent Gallup poll showed that more Americans’ personal views have become more anti-abortion in recent years (50%, 2012), a whopping 77% of Americans believe abortion should remain a legal option for women. Fifty-two percent of those say it should be legal in some cases, 25% in all cases. Just 20% object to abortion in all cases.