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Trouble in Tampa - and Not Just From Humidity

Posted by Ryan Morgan on August 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM

As the Republican National Convention continues in Florida this week, national and local media has been discussing the meanings and importance of all the political speeches that are being given by conservative heavyweights. This "hot air" hasn't been limited to the speeches alone. An important document slipped through the committee virtually unnoticed: The Republican Party Platform.

On Tuesday, Republicans approved and adopted the 54-page document, meant to outline their party’s positions on key issues and their legislative goals. Among things like expanding the rights of gun owners and condemning attacks on traditional marriage, the 2012 Republican Platform takes a harsh stance on women’s reproductive rights.

Two key issues are framed by this document – the first is one that South Carolinians are all too familiar with: the “Freedom of Conscience.” Just this past January, we were witness to a legislative fight over the right of healthcare professionals to refuse to participate in any medical procedure for any reason, without reason. The “Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act,” of “Right to Refuse Act” died in a Senate subcommittee hearing after no less than 7 hearings and over 7,000 emails from Tell Them advocates urging committee members to vote against this disastrous bill. Now this issue moves national.

According to the newly adopted Republican Platform,

No healthcare professional or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, withhold, or refer for a medical service against their conscience.

This can be for any and all reasons, and are not limited to the physician. Meaning the receptionist at your pediatrician’s office could refuse to give your child a back-to-school appointment because she doesn’t believe in vaccinations.

The other major hit to reproductive rights lies in the section titled “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life.”  Hidden within some veiled references to the Declaration of Independence and opinions on how judges should behave is this:

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.

This sentence reaffirms the idea of “personhood,” a legal move which would define life beginning at the moment of conception, not fertilization (as the American Medical Association defines the beginning of pregnancy). Passage of any personhood legislation would outlaw all hormonal contraceptives on the grounds that these forms of birth control may interfere with a woman’s ovulation, may prevent fertilization of a woman’s egg by a sperm, or may prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus. It would also outlaw invitro-fertilization – a process that seeks to help families conceive more children.

The adoption of this dangerous platform is being hidden and suppressed by the speakers, who are trying to portray themselves as friends to women and trying to open the communication between doctors and patients. Here is Governor Christie’s “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment from Tuesday night:

Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world's greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.

This from a party that just hours earlier accepted a platform that seeks to limit and remove vital reproductive rights from women across the country. They want to remove the bureaucrats from standing between a woman and her doctor? Then stop putting those limits in place. Stop censoring doctors and stop allowing people to stand between a woman and her options.

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