GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that he would change the Republican Party’s anti-choice platform to include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.
“The Republican platform every four years has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child shall not be infringed,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie said during a town hall event on Today. “And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the exceptions that you have?”
“Yes, I would. Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would,” Trump said.
“Would you have an exception for the health of the mother?” Guthrie continued.
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“I would leave it for the life of the mother,” Trump said.
The GOP’s official 2012 platform said that the party “assert[s] the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” The party advocates for “a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
“We have a general plank in there that affirms our belief in the God-given right to life and that governments are instituted to protect that,” former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, then-chair of the GOP’s Platform Committee, said upon the release of the platform in 2012, according to the Washington Post. “The specifics are largely left up to the states.”
The release of the GOP’s platform caused controversy in 2012 for containing no official exceptions for a total ban on legal abortion across the country. The document was released shortly after former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s notorious comment that abortions in cases of rape were not needed because, as the one-time lawmaker said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Exceptions to unconstitutional abortion bans have again become a topic of debate as Republican presidential candidates have offered different opinions on the matter throughout the race. Though Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) say they support exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would only support an exception for life endangerment.
Trump’s murky positions on abortion rights have caused consternation in anti-choice circles. The leading GOP candidate said in March that abortion patients should face “some sort of punishment” if legal abortion was outlawed nationwide.