Both major political parties recently issued new platforms that communicate contrasting core values to the American people. Following is a breakdown of where each party stands on the life issues of particular concern to readers of this blog: abortion, sex education, embryos and stem cell research and assisted suicide:
The Democrat party platform maintains that “that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion” (p. 37).
The Republican party platform focuses on “The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can ‘be deprived of life, liberty or property’ deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that ‘all’ are ‘endowed by their Creator’ with the inalienable right to life” (p. 13).
Democrats: “We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people” (p.37).
“We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment [which prohibits most government funding of abortions]” (p. 37).
“We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to health care information and services, including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world” (p. 46).
Republicans: “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare” (p. 13).
“We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage” (p. 13).
“Because of [Democratic party] opposition to simple abortion clinic safety procedures, support for taxpayer-funded abortion, and rejection of pregnancy resource centers that provide abortion alternatives, the old Clinton mantra of “safe, legal, and rare” has been reduced to just “legal” (p. 14).
“We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics” (p. 14).
Democrats: “We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions” (p. 37).
Republicans: “We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes” (p. 34)
Embryos and stem cell research
Democrats: No mention.
The 2012 platform had noted that “the President issued an executive order repealing the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.”
The 2008 platform had issued a call to “lift the current Administration's ban on using federal funding for embryonic stem cells– cells that would have otherwise have been discarded and lost forever–for research that could save lives.”
Republicans: “We call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research” (pp. 37-38).
Assisted suicide and euthanasia
Democrats: No mention.
Republicans: “We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide” (pp. 13-14).