New Trump-Influenced GOP Platform Tees Up Convention Conflict Over Abortion, Gun Rights, Gay Marriage

Vice President Pence is the most prominent Republican to express dissatisfaction with the new proposed Republican platform.

AP/Alex Brandon
GOP lawmakers are increasingly proposing more family-friendly legislation, including welfare, following the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. AP/Alex Brandon

President Trump’s new Republican platform could be setting the stage for infighting at the Republican National Convention on the topic of whether the party should support a national abortion ban.

For the first time since 2016, the Republican Party is moving to change its platform, condensing the document to just 16 pages from the 66 pages across which the 2016 platform sprawled.

The new proposed platform, approved by a committee at the Republican National Committee, has Trump’s fingerprints on it, making liberal use of his characteristic all-caps writing style and exclamation marks. The platform, however, still needs to be approved by the full Republican National Convention, which is set to meet in Milwaukee between July 15 and 18.

While loyalty to Trump has become a defining characteristic of Republican politics in recent years, there are a few changes to Trump’s new platform that could spark a fight at the convention.

The most high-profile of these changes is the party’s stance on abortion. Previous Republican platforms have called for a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks beyond conception. The new proposed platform does not.

“We proudly stand for families and Life,” the proposed platform reads. “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. After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the States and to a vote of the People.”

The removal of strict anti-abortion rights language looks to be a political move by Trump, as abortion politics have punished Republicans in elections since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

It’s also an issue where anti-abortion rights advocates are squarely in the minority, with 36 percent of Americans saying they think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, compared to 63 percent who say it should be legal, according to Pew Research.

Vice President Pence is the most prominent Republican so far to air grievances over the removal of anti-abortion rights language, saying Tuesday that the “RNC platform is a profound disappointment to the millions of pro-life Republicans that have always looked to the Republican Party to stand for life.”

“The Supreme Court did not return the question of abortion to the states only but to the elected representatives of the people,” Mr. Pence said. “The 14th amendment, though rightly cited, will not protect the unborn across the country without further federal action.”

Some anti-abortion rights activists, like evangelical leader Tony Perkins, have indicated that their ability to influence the proposed platform was squashed in the behind-closed-doors meeting where it was voted on, and have suggested that they will push the party to change its purported position.

“The 2024 platform is a concise statement of campaign priorities, but not a declaration of enduring principles for a political party,” Mr. Perkins said in a statement.

He and other conservative Christian activists had sent a letter to Trump protesting the new language, asking him to support “a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”

Mr. Perkins has indicated that he and other dissatisfied religious conservatives are working on a minority report, which will reflect where they think the party’s position should be on abortion.

The proposed platform also says that the GOP will support IVF treatments, birth control, and prenatal care, though some powerful conservative and Christian groups, like the Southern Baptists, have come out against IVF treatments just this year.

Trump himself also acted to limit access to birth control at the behest of Christian groups like My Faith Votes, which was co-founded by his Housing and Urban Development secretary, Ben Carson, by rolling back a requirement that employers cover birth control in their insurance offerings.

While Trump’s apparent split with the religious right is the marquee issue that could lead to infighting at the Republican convention, there are other areas of the platform that could spark division, such as Trump’s promises to preserve Social Security and Medicare.

For instance, the new platform promises to “FIGHT FOR AND PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WITH NO CUTS, INCLUDING NO CHANGES TO THE RETIREMENT AGE.”

However, the outgoing GOP platform states that Republicans rejected that the topic was politically “deadly for anyone who would change it.”

The old platform promised benefits for current retirees and “those close to retirement,” and also said the system belonged to “an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans,” while making allusions to using the “power of markets” to reform Social Security.

On Medicare, the new platform also promises that there will be no cuts while the old platform proposed setting “a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span.”

Senator Scott of Florida is probably the leading Republican who has recently voiced opposition to preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits, releasing last year a plan to cut both programs — a plan he was disciplined for releasing by Senator McConnell.

The RNC also omitted any mention of gun rights or same-sex marriage from the platform, two issues that have rallied Republicans in the past.

The proposed platform makes no mention of guns or gun rights, while the old platform supported so-called constitutional carry laws, which allow for carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, and opposed gun control regulations.

The old Republican platform also cited marriage between “one man and one woman” as the “foundation for a free society,” and said that the Supreme Court “robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage”when it legalized same-sex marriage.


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