RNC approves platform that would give rights to fetuses, endangering abortion, in vitro fertilization

Originally Posted By 19.

The Republican Party on Monday adopted a “Make America Great Again!” policy platform ahead of its national convention that does not call for a federal ban on abortion but supports states establishing fetal personhood under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law to all American citizens.

If established through legislation, fetal personhood would have the practical effect of prohibiting abortion at all stages of pregnancy. Its impact could become nationwide if courts uphold state laws that extend the 14th Amendment to fetuses.

The platform, released ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, takes a state-centered approach to protecting or restricting reproductive rights, including abortion. It states: “We believe that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that no person shall be denied life or liberty without due process, and that states therefore have the freedom to enact laws to protect those rights.”

This 16-page documentapproved by the Republican convention platform committee and circulated by the Trump campaign, further states that Republicans “will oppose late-term abortions” — a political term not used by doctors referring to abortion in the second and third trimester of pregnancy — while “supporting mothers and policies that promote prenatal care, access to contraception, and in vitro fertilization.

The platform does not call for a national abortion ban or for Congress to set gestational age limits or other restrictions on the medical procedure. However, by extending 14th Amendment rights to fetuses, it follows the path that the anti-abortion movement favors for achieving fetal personhood.

It is commonly believed that the personality of the fetus is conflict with in vitro fertilization (IVF), which creates embryos outside the uterus that are later implanted. Fetal personhood gives embryos the same rights that are currently reserved for humans, from the moment of fertilization. The GOP platform has stated that the party supports “mothers and policies that promote prenatal care, access to birth control, and IVF (infertility treatment).” It does not explain how they plan to support IVF while also supporting a fetal personhood policy that would make it illegal.

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Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life Action called the inclusion of the 14th Amendment the platform’s “most significant contribution” to the fight against abortion.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group SBA Pro-Life America, also highlighted the platform’s mention of the 14th Amendment, pointing to its role as a potential basis for national restrictions on abortion.

“Under this amendment, it is Congress that enacts and enforces its provisions,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The Republican Party remains strongly pro-life at the national level.”

The document made no mention of the Comstock Act, another lever that abortion opponents could apply to restrict abortion nationally. The 1873 Act anti-obscenity lawwhich has never been repealed but has not been enforced for decades, bans the mailing of “any article or thing designed, adapted, or intended to be used for the purpose of inducing an abortion.” More than 60 percent of abortions in the U.S. are now performed with medication — restricting access to medication has become a top priority for the anti-abortion movement since the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion laws in 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Last month, the Supreme Court dismissed the case against the US Food and Drug Administration brought by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine over the abortion pill mifepristone. Abortion opponents argued that the FDA should not have approved the drug and argued that anti-obscenity laws should be used to ban mailing abortion drugs. The case was dismissed on a demurrer — a technical ruling in which the court found that the plaintiffs had failed to show they had standing to sue — but the case could return to a higher court in the future.

The RNC document came after a long, public battle within the Republican Party over its handling of abortion. Most Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade in Dobbs, and those who support abortion rights are more likely to say it will affect how do they vote.

Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive nominee, has been hesitant to publicly support a national abortion ban, even as he takes credit for overturning Roe. Trump has not said how specifically he would address the Comstock Act, though the law is frequently cited in the 2025 Project, a public policy project developed by former Trump advisers through the conservative Heritage Foundation.

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