Trump-backed GOP platform says states should be allowed to extend constitutional rights to embryos

The party platform fight shows that Trump and his allies know their stance on abortion is generally unpopular

Published July 8, 2024 3:56PM (EDT)

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Republican Party has tweaked language on reproductive freedom in its 2024 party platform, The Washington Post reported, including text that would allow states to grant constitutional rights to a fetus but stopping short of calling for a politically unpopular abortion ban at the national level.

The text would allow states the power to pass laws extending the 14th amendment to embryos and fetuses. The amendment prohibits depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." For decades anti-abortion activists have argued the 14th amendment as protects human life from conception.

But the GOP platform does not call for a constitutional amendment to give embryos or fetuses rights, as anti-abortion activists have pushed for

“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," the document's passage on abortion reads. “After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the states and to a vote of the people. We will oppose late term abortion while supporting mothers and policies that advance prenatal care, access to birth control, and IVF (fertility treatments)."

The proposal passed in a 84-18 vote in a meeting in Milwaukee on Monday, The Post reported. 

The platform ostensibly abandons the Republican Party’s decades-long stance on the need for a national abortion ban and granting constitutional rights to fetuses, which were included in both Trump’s 2016 campaign platform and his 2020 re-election campaign platform. 

The document instead matches Trump’s most-recent take, which is that states should be in full control over abortion law without explicitly endorsing bans everywhere.

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“My view is, now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation, or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land,” Trump said in an April video on Truth Social.

Platform committee member Iowa State Rep. Brad Sherman told ABC News that a federal abortion ban after a certain stage of pregnancy should remain a value of the GOP.

“I see that as problematic. We still need these principles clearly stated. Some of these battles are not over,” Sherman told ABC.

The outlet NOTUS reported that there was frustration among committee members “over how the platform was created.” While the process is normally collaborative, Trump ultimately took control over the language in this year’s platform. 

“That was awful. That upset everybody. We’re in a position where the Trump campaign really stacked the deck on this and put themselves in a position to just, you know, get the delegates to affirm what they wanted,” a person familiar with the platform committee meeting told the publication. 

Along with dropping a federal abortion ban, the 16-page platform is less comprehensive than Trump’s 2016 platform, which was more than three times as long. The party removed language from the 2016 draft condemning same-sex marriage as well as language supporting LGBTQ+ conversion therapy.

Among the top priorities listed in the document, written in all caps, are to “seal the border and stop the migrant invasion” and to “carry out the largest deportation operation in American history” a crackdown on immigration that Trump has pushed for since he entered the political arena. 

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