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‘Worst platform I’ve ever seen’: Conservatives slam Republicans for softening pro-life stance

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Top conservatives at a “Beyond Dobbs” panel discussion at the 2024 National Conservatism Conference expressed anger over the Republican Party’s softening of its pro-life stance ahead of this November’s election, with one calling the GOP’s new platform the “worst platform I’ve ever seen.”

Organized Wednesday in Washington, D.C., by the Edmund Burke Foundation in partnership with over a dozen other major U.S. conservative think tanks, the conference’s panel on the subject focused on the political landscape in the post-Roe v. Wade era.

Several panelists, including a former Trump administration official, severely criticized the 2024 GOP platform, which was approved by the Republican National Convention’s platform committee on Monday.

What’s going on with Republicans and abortion?

Since Roe’s overturn in 2022 the pro-life movement has struggled to achieve any significant policy wins at the polls, leading some Republicans to believe abortion is a losing issue.

This belief appeared to be reflected in the GOP’s new platform, which removed a long-standing “right to life” plank and any call for a national law protecting unborn life.

Tom McClusky, a veteran operative in the pro-life movement, led the charge in slamming Republicans for backing away from the life issue.

“The RNC platform, I’m sorry, it is the worst platform I’ve ever seen,” McClusky said. “The platform, to me, has always been a promissory note. This is what the Republican Party stands for, this is the ideals that we strive for, and we’ve lost that now.”

He pointed to the Biden administration’s actions to promote abortion, saying it has “proven” that abortion cannot “just go back to the states.”

“Look at everything that he [Biden] has done,” he said. “They’ve turned our veterans’ hospitals into abortuaries. They’ve turned our military into abortion travel services. They’ve taken the Department of Justice and gone after people who stand up for life.”

“That is not something the states can stop,” he added. “That is only something the federal government can do.”

‘Quietly transforming every agency into Planned Parenthood’

Katy Talento, another panelist and former Trump administration Domestic Policy Council adviser, also criticized Republicans for backing away from the national abortion debate.

According to Talento, the Biden administration has been “quietly transforming every [government] agency into Planned Parenthood.”

Leaving the status quo regarding abortion, Talento claimed, would greatly advantage the abortion industry and result in more deaths of not only unborn babies but also pregnant women.

“I would strongly urge any hand-wringing politician worried about suburban women to read the FDA label before advocating for [abortion] pill-pushing on demand. The next woman bleeding out in the fetal position could be their daughter or their granddaughter,” Talento warned.

“It appears that there is little courage or appetite among our national leaders to try to protect unborn Americans with new federal laws,” she added. However, she emphasized, “there are too many radical policies implemented by Team Biden throughout many agencies to let any new president or cabinet secretary off the hook.”

Promoting marriage and families

Various panelists also suggested strategies to push back against abortion and reverse the ongoing decline in births.

Emma Waters, a senior research associate at The Heritage Foundation, said promoting a culture conducive to life involves all aspects of society, government, and religion.

Government policy, Waters said, must include not only on materially supporting mothers but also on promoting stable marriages and families.

“All policy must be pro-family policy,” she said. “We don’t need a separate policy group focused on family policy, we need those who are working in foreign policy, those who are in education, those who are in welfare and beyond, asking themselves, ‘Does this policy that I’m putting forward help support and encourage the family?’”

“To solve the fertility crisis,” she continued, “we can’t simply focus on creating more children. We must focus on creating more healthy marriages between married men and women. That’s where we’re going to find our solution.”

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‘Worst platform I’ve ever seen’: Conservatives slam Republicans for softening pro-life stance