Just a day after Missouri Republican Senatorial Candidate Rep. Todd Akin's outlandish comments about rape victims and abortion, and despite prominent Republicans' around the nation calling for him to step down, published reports indicate that the 2012 Republican party platform will call for a constitutional ban on abortion without exceptions. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, the head of this year's platform committee, denounced Rep. Akin's comments yesterday but has relentlessly pursued policies to restrict access to abortion regardless of circumstances for more than two decades in Virginia - and is now continuing on the national stage.
Gov. McDonnell told Bloomberg News that the Republican platform will "affirm our view and support for the right to life." It is expected to be in line with the policies Gov. McDonnell, Rep. Akin and other anti-choice Republicans have been advocating for decades - attacking a woman's right to choose abortion without regard for individual circumstances or the personal and private nature of the decision.
"Actions speak louder than words. Governor McDonnell is trying to distance himself from Congressman Akin's comments while simultaneously agreeing with him on the policy at hand. The governor can mince words all he likes, but the fact is he is working just like Congressman Akin to push the Republican Party to the fringe in its attacks on women's rights and health," said NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia's Executive Director Tarina Keene. "We know that the majority of Virginians and Americans at large oppose outright bans on abortion in all circumstances that ignore the realities of women's lives."
CNN also reports that the GOP platform committee will commend states that have recently enacted laws creating hurdles to abortion - like mandatory ultrasounds and 24-hour waiting periods - for their success in impending safe, legal access to abortion care under the guise of "informed consent." The irony shouldn't be lost that thousands of Virginians came out in protest this past February and voiced their opposition to Virginia's notorious mandatory ultrasound and waiting period law ultimately signed by Governor McDonnell.
"Governor McDonnell would be wise to take heed of the outrage provoked by the mandatory ultrasound bill and now Congressman Akin's remarks and stop pushing his party to increase government interference into women's private medical choices and lives," said Keene.
"The successes by McDonnell and his anti-choice allies throughout the country in shaming women who chose abortion and making it more difficult for them to access care is nothing to celebrate."
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