Abortion and the radicalism of the Republican Party
August 24, 2012 3 Comments
One interesting thing about contemporary politics is that so many people just don’t appreciate how truly radical (not the least bit “conservative” in the classical sense) today’s Republican party is. One of the great things about this Akin imbroglio is it shines light on this fact. The Republican platform committee has re-committed to a platform that bans all abortions all the time.
The Republican platform committee approved language on Tuesday seeking a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to the life of a pregnant woman, a position Democrats quickly labeled the “Akin Plank,” after embattled Representative Todd Akin of Missouri.
The wording of the GOP’s call for a “human life amendment” is no different from what the party approved in 2004 and 2008, but proponents and opponents alike greeted it with renewed zeal two days after Akin said he “understand[s] from doctors” that rape-induced pregnancies are “really rare,” and that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Got that– nobody was really paying attention before, but now Akin has really brought attention to this issue. I loved listening to the verbal gymnastics of a spokesperson on Dianne Rehm today saying, basically, “well, just because we don’t say anything about exceptions doesn’t mean we don’t support exceptions.” Ummm, no, that’s not how things work. If you support a ban of something, but believe there should be specific exceptions, than you say as much when you write the ban, e.g., North Carolina bans riding in the back of pick-up trucks except when operating in an agricultural capacity.
And here’s, the thing, this no exceptions policy is really unpopular even among Republicans! The following chart is 2008 National Election Study data:
Just in case you are not so good with charts– only 19% of Republicans support the no exceptions policy and only 14% of the general public. In short, Republican elites are just really, really conservative.