Despite the tremendous pressure on the Republican party following Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments about “legitimate rape,” supposedly natural contraception and abortion, CNN reported last night that the Republican platform to be affirmed at the convention last week will contain a call for a so-called “personhood” amendment to the Constitution that is similar to Akin’s 2009 anti-abortion legislation with presumptive VP nominee Paul Ryan (R-WI). Like the Akin-Ryan bill, the “personhood” amendment envisioned by the GOP platform would contain no exceptions to its bans on abortion, even for rape or incest.
But, if it is similar to the Mississippi personhood amendment debated late last year, rape and incest will not be the only exceptions to the GOP’s anti-abortion amendment. Were it to pass, it could also criminalize everything from IUDs and oral contraceptives to IVF and stem cell research — and it wouldn’t have an exception for the life or health of the mother.
The draft language obtained by CNN reads:
“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.”
Personhood USA president Keith Mason confirmed to Raw Story that amendments like the one proposed by the GOP platform committee don’t contain any exceptions. “You don’t need any exceptions because it’s a principle,” he said, “You don’t need further clarification.”
So which countries provide no exceptions to their laws outlawing all abortion? There are currently only 5:
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
Even Saudi Arabia allows women to receive abortions for their own health or lives.
The list of countries that don’t allow women to receive abortions for health-related reasons (let alone rape or incest) is a bit longer, but it includes Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Andorra, Venezuela and (most famously for Americans) Ireland. Brazil, the Sudan, Mali and Bhutan don’t allow abortions to preserve the health of the mother, but they do allow rape and incest victims to receive abortions. Zimbabwe, Togo and Panama don’t allow women to have abortions to preserve their mental health, but they do allow rape and incest victims to do so.
But even if the GOP platform were amended to allow women to have abortions to preserve their own health or lives, by eliminating abortion access for rape and incest victims, the United States would join countries like Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Jamaica, Peru, Costa Rica and Liechtenstein.