Republican politicians have been falling over themselves to condemn from Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, who said Sunday that women who have experienced “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” The Romney-Ryan campaign called Akin’s comments “insulting, inexcusable and frankly wrong,” in spite of Ryan’s close working relationship with Akin on a number of radical anti-abortion and contraception bills. A Romney spokesperson added that the “Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
But embracing a rape exception for abortion rights would put the campaign at odds with the Republican Party’s longstanding platform, the newest iteration of which will be officially unveiled at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. In spite of the massive public outcry from the right over Akin’s comments, the official GOP platform committee drafted a provision Monday supporting a “human life amendment” that would outlaw abortion without specifying exemptions for rape or incest.
The human life amendment has been a tenet of the Republican Party platform since the dawn of the Reagan era in 1980. It has survived for 32 years and nine presidential elections, even after former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pushed hard in 2000 for an explicit exception for rape and incest. McCain ceded the language to party officials during his own run in 2008.