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Pence, anti-abortion Republicans denounce Trump-backed RNC platform

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(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Mike Pence has joined a faction of conservatives decrying the updated Republican National Committee platform rubber-stamped by former President Donald Trump for its inclusion of softened language on abortion, a marked change from past cycles.

The 2024 platform committee voted 84-14 on Monday to adopt a platform that says Republicans “will oppose Late Term Abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance Prenatal Care, access to Birth Control, and IVF (fertility treatments)” while affirming support for the 14th Amendment’s implication that the issue of abortion should be determined at the state level — positions reflective of Trump’s views.

The language, however, means that it is the first time in decades that the RNC has not explicitly endorsed a national ban on abortion in the platform — a shift that a number of anti-abortion advocates and more socially conservative RNC members had been lobbying against ahead of the 2024 platform’s drafting.

Pence, who ran against Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, called the new language “a profound disappointment to the millions of pro-life Republicans that have always looked to the Republican Party to stand for life,” in a statement circulated by his nonprofit political advocacy group Advancing American Freedom.

While the RNC committee adopted the platform, the full RNC needs to vote to approve the language. That vote is on the convention floor on Monday, July 15.

In his statement, Pence seemed to urge members to vote against the Trump-backed platform at that upcoming session.

“Now is not the time to surrender any ground in the fight for the right to life. The 2024 platform removed historic pro-life principles that have long been the foundation of the platform. I urge delegates attending next week’s Republican Convention to restore language to our party’s platform recognizing the sanctity of human life and affirming that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed,” Pence said.

Pence’s objection to the platform comes as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a member of the 2024 GOP platform committee who has been vocal in his opposition to having the Republican platform soften its language on abortion, submitted a minority report to the RNC on Monday following the adoption of the 2024 document.

The minority report, too, calls for the 2024 platform to restore its “commitment to a human life amendment.”

“That commitment to a human life amendment and a call for the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection application to children before birth has been repeated in every platform since and, by this declaration of principle, we extend it now. In no season, under no rationale spurred by the exigencies of a political moment, can or should we abandon the high principles that have created and sustained this party, with God’s grace, into a third century,” according to the minority report.

“With heaviness of heart but fullness of optimism that the defense of life will inevitably prevail, we resubmit these ideals to our fellow Americans,” the letter concludes.

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley defended the committee’s newly inked platform during a short gaggle with reporters Monday evening — doubling down specifically on the abortion language.

“We have a very solid pro-life platform. We feel very, very solid about it. I think you can just look at the number of pro-life groups from across the country that have come in and said that they strongly support this platform,” said Whatley, who dispelled any notions from some Republicans that the platform was too soft on the issue.

“The Republican Party stands for life. And we are always going to stand for life. I think when you look at this platform, you’re going to see that it is very pro-America. It is very pro-family. It is very pro-life. And we feel very strong about the language that we have.”

Whatley told ABC News he anticipates little objection and a backing of the platform when full membership votes on the language next week.

“This is the embodiment of what President Trump wants to run on. And this is the path. This is the platform that is going to help us,” Whatley said. “It provides a roadmap to make sure that we’re going to get the government turned around, get America turned around and restore our leadership.”

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