The XX Factor

GOP Preparing Platform As Radical As Akin’s

Republican convention set.

Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images

Despite the recent unpleasantness exposing how ugly the rationales for abortion bans can get, the GOP seems to be moving ahead to release a platform that includes no exceptions for rape and incest when it comes to abortion, and that reaffirms the party’s belief that fertilized eggs have more rights than women. Draft language reported by CNN states:

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Right now, Republicans are laying the pressure on Todd Akin to quit the race before today’s deadline (after which a court order would be required to have him removed from the ballot), and by doing so they may seem less hostile to women’s basic right of bodily autonomy than they are. The draft obtained by CNN should serve as a reminder that Akin’s beliefs are actually in the mainstream of the party. 

A fertilized egg can’t have ownership rights over a woman’s body without taking the woman’s rights away. Even if you are a woman who can never imagine yourself having an abortion, defining an embryo as a person with rights to your body that outstrip your own threatens you. It could mean opening criminal investigations into miscarriages, and charges of “child neglect” if it turns out you drank a beer or ate a soft cheese before you miscarried. It could give hospitals and doctors extensive rights to override a woman’s wish for medical treatment while pregnant or for her care during pregnancy. It certainly could make it harder for women to do ordinary things, such as work in stressful jobs, take certain medications, or drink alcohol, on the grounds that these things could be harmful to the potentially fertilized egg inside. Giving rights to hypothetical people over women has implications far beyond just banning abortion.