Will the GOP Officially Support Defunding Planned Parenthood?

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

An effort is underway to ensure that a call to defund Planned Parenthood is included in the official Republican platform, the Washington Times reports today. Pro-life groups will be active in Cleveland in the days leading up to the convention, holding rallies and even flying a banner over the city in order to “keep the pressure on” Republicans. Meanwhile, a group of pro-life Democrats bought a billboard near the site of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, hoping “to remind delegates at the Democratic National Convention that 1 in 3 Democrats are pro-life.”

These efforts come shortly after the Democratic Party released the final draft of their platform, which goes further than any other in its support for abortion, and includes specific reference to Planned Parenthood’s funding. “We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers,” the draft says, echoing language from the 2012 platform. The draft also calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortion and is supported by about 70 percent of the country. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin recently called his party’s draft’s proposal “crazy,” while Senator Tim Kaine, a potential Hillary Clinton running mate, said he had been unaware of the change, telling The Weekly Standard, “I have traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, but I’ll check it out.”

While Democratic platforms have long promoted a woman’s “right” to abortion “regardless of ability to pay,” the 2012 platform was the first to mention Planned Parenthood, and 2016’s would be the first to explicitly call for the Hyde Amendment’s repeal. By contrast, since 1980, the Republican platform has opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. The 2012 version states: “We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it.” Planned Parenthood is by far the largest, most influential organization of this kind, and Democrats have made clear it has their undying allegiance. Given these newly drawn battle lines, Republicans should reaffirm their long-held principles and take up the challenge.

Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.