2024 RNC platform may shift GOP’s abortion policy for the first time in years

2024 RNC platform may shift GOP’s abortion policy for the first time in years

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is in the process of drafting its 2024 party platform, which may bring significant changes to the GOP’s stance on critical issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration. These potential reforms are expected to align closely with the views of former President Donald Trump, according to platform committee members and Trump allies.

Trump recently called into a meeting with RNC officials to express his approval of a draft of the new platform. In 2016, the GOP adopted a strict, conservative platform on issues of gender and sexual orientation, despite efforts by some moderate factions to soften the language. This platform was reaffirmed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult for party committees to convene and adjust the language. Trump was nominated for a second term during the 2020 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A political party’s platform outlines its positions on various policies, but it is not binding and does not directly impact the work of elected officials or candidates. The platform that Trump ran on in 2016 and 2020 supported legislation for a 20-week federal abortion ban and articulated support for a constitutional amendment to protect human life, including unborn children.

In 2024, the GOP will write its first platform since the Dobbs decision, which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion. This new platform could play a significant role in defining the ideals of a party reshaped by Trump, who has been clear about his opposition to a federal abortion ban and his preference for leaving the issue to the states. Trump’s stance on reproductive rights has raised concerns among some anti-abortion activists and RNC members, who fear that the call for a “right to life” amendment might be removed from the platform.

Trump’s top advisers are planning to overhaul and reduce the platform to align it with his vision for America’s future. The revised platform has not yet been finalized, but several changes are expected to better reflect Trump’s ideological thinking, including softening the language on abortion.

“He won [2024 primary elections] in a historic fashion,” a senior Trump adviser told ABC News. “He is the party. But it also reflects the will of voters,” the adviser added. “I anticipate some of that will be in the platform.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a top contender to be Trump’s running mate, recently backed the idea of removing the abortion ban from the GOP platform. “Our platform has to reflect our nominee, and our nominee’s position actually happens to be one grounded in reality,” Rubio said on CNN. “The reality is the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and now it’s up to voters in individual states to decide how and to what level they want to restrict abortion, if at all.”

Draft language for the new platform has not yet been circulated to most platform committee members or general RNC members, though discussions and lobbying on the issues have been ongoing among key advocacy groups and Trump allies. The platform committee began meeting in Milwaukee on July 7, with additional meetings scheduled. The final platform will be unveiled at the national convention starting on July 15 in Milwaukee.

Some socially conservative RNC members and leading anti-abortion groups have been vocal about any platform changes that might weaken the party’s stance on abortion. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who sits on the RNC’s platform committee, has said he will lead an effort to create a “minority report” if the committee softens the abortion language.

The Family Research Council, along with other conservative groups, has launched a “Platform Integrity Project” to ensure the preservation of the GOP’s conservative platform, which includes pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Israel planks. Perkins has expressed concern that the softer language on reproductive rights might impact the 2024 election by dampening enthusiasm among the Republican base.

However, a source familiar with the platform deliberations told ABC News that much of the alarm is overblown. The source believes that the RNC will use Trump’s recent language on abortion as their guide. “My belief is the loud voices are few and will not be more than a squeaky wheel in the end,” the source said.

Other Republicans are optimistic that Trump’s stances will be reflected in the platform. Charles Moran, a Trump delegate in 2016 and 2020 and president of the Log Cabin Republicans, hopes that any attempts to “define marriage” in the RNC platform will be abandoned to align with national sentiment and the law.

The current RNC platform states that the party would “respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions” on issues like marriage, which it defines as “between one man and one woman.”

Ahead of the platform deliberations, some RNC members have raised concerns about the critical committee meetings being closed to the press and non-committee members. They argue that this move will suppress the will of general party members and allow Trump-aligned actors to institute changes without pushback.

Two emails from the RNC’s member services account outline the policy, which several party members said has not been a practice at previous conventions. In opposition to this decision, Perkins circulated a letter to RNC Chair Michael Whatley, calling for the reinstatement of the normal procedure of allowing approved guests and media to observe and participate in the process.

A member of the rules committee told ABC News that closing the meetings would be a mistake, as being live on TV helps keep everyone accountable and civil. The member added that closed-door hearings could lead to accusations and name-calling.

Source: ABC News, The Texas Tribune

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