RNC Platform: Decades-Long Endorsement of Policies That Treat Women, Doctors, Family and Friends Like Criminals


July 13, 2016

Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, [email protected] 

National Institute for Reproductive Health Releases Analysis of Abortion Plank in the RNC Platform, Warns About Potential for Prosecution, Punishment, Imprisonment

NEW YORK — The National Institute for Reproductive Health (National Institute) today unveiled an in-depth analysis looking back over the last three decades at how the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) platform has consistently sought to make abortion both illegal and inaccessible, putting women, doctors, and family and friends at risk of prosecution and punishment. The analysis dovetails with the National Institute’s billboard, print, and digital ad campaign asking the RNC, “If abortion is made illegal, how much time will a woman serve?”

News reports reveal a draft 2016 platform more hostile to abortion rights than in prior years, including amendments banning abortion after 20 weeks.

“The RNC platform has historically failed to protect women from the possibility of prosecution and jail time, and all accounts indicate that the 2016 platform will include provisions more extreme and out of touch with the pro-choice majority than ever before,” said National Institute for Reproductive Health President Andrea Miller. “This historical analysis demonstrates that the RNC platform has become even more narrow and uncompromising over the years, removing earlier language that suggested an obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women seeking abortions.”

Each Republican Party platform since 1984, including the draft 2016 platform, has endorsed anti-abortion proposals — including calling for laws, policies, and constitutional amendments that would ban abortion altogether. For more than three decades, the adopted RNC platform has supported a “human life amendment” stating, “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.” Were this to be enacted, it would likely make abortion illegal — and the woman having an abortion, the doctor providing one, and family or friends supporting the woman all could be prosecuted.

The National Institute’s analysis includes examples of the recent rise in arrests and prosecutions of women related to abortion, including at least 17 women arrested or convicted in connection with alleged self-induced abortion since 2004. It also examines how the RNC platforms have endorsed a growing number of restrictions on abortion, many of which are reflected in the more than 1,000 laws restricting abortion access that have passed since Roe v. Wade.

“The RNC has refused to confront the implications of the policies for which its platform advocates,” said Miller. “This analysis exposes the real-life consequences of its extremism and the platform’s disconnect with voters’ desire for a woman’s abortion experience to be supportive and accessible.”

The National Institute is available to analyze specific proposals within the platform as that information becomes public.


About National Institute for Reproductive Health

The National Institute for Reproductive Health works across the country to increase access to reproductive health care by changing public policy, galvanizing public support, and normalizing women’s decisions to have abortions and use contraception.