To Elect Trump, Republicans Hide Their Extreme Anti-Abortion Plans

Since late last year, conservatives have telegraphed their extreme plans to leverage the whole of the federal government to attack abortion access if Donald Trump wins a second term. At the same time, Trump’s campaign advisers and allies have signaled their intent to position him as a “moderate” on abortion — even though he backed a national abortion ban as president and assembled the conservative Supreme Court supermajority that overturned Roe v. Wade, ending federal protection for abortion rights.

On Monday, that fiction won out, as the Republican National Committee adopted a platform excluding many of the party’s controversial and most closely held positions. The move generated the exact type of headlines that Trump and his allies undoubtedly intended.

“Following Trump’s Lead, Republicans Adopt Platform That Softens Stance on Abortion,” The New York Times’ headline declared, with the story asserting the agenda “cements Mr. Trump’s ideological takeover of the GOP.” The Washington Post headline read, “GOP adopts platform that softens language on abortion, same-sex marriage.” Politico headlined its piece, “RNC poised in draft text to drop national limits on abortion from party platform,” and suggested the agenda document “represents a major change for the GOP — and one that anti-abortion advocates had spent months rallying against.” 

On its face, the new RNC agenda does present a more moderate picture on both social issues and kitchen-table issues. Believing this document to be a sincere representation of the GOP’s values, however, requires forgetting everything the modern Republican Party stands for — and everything that the MAGA elite and conservative lawmakers have been pledging to do if they retake power in this year’s elections.

Look no further than the document’s claim that Trump “will not cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security.” In March, Trump said on CNBC, “There is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting, and in terms of also the theft and the bad management of entitlements.”

The new platform may say one thing — but Republican politicians, policy hands, and the party elite are all consistently saying something else, and always have. 

Nowhere is that more clear than the platform’s take on abortion, and its decision to remove the party’s long-standing pledge to impose a nationwide ban on the procedure. 

Earlier this year, Trump openly flirted with the idea of endorsing a national abortion ban. He then announced he would not support new federal restrictions on abortion, but would instead leave the issue to the states — a position the RNC has now adopted.

The former president last week sought to distance himself from conservatives’ Project 2025 agenda — a 887-page policy road map that was co-authored by many Trump administration officials and spells out how Republicans plan to govern if they win in November.

The Project 2025 blueprint details conservatives’ plans to use the federal government to attack abortion every way they can — from its talk of reviving a 150-year-old law viewed as a de facto federal abortion ban, to using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase “abortion surveillance,” to revoking the federal government’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. 

While the new RNC platform similarly seeks to distance Republicans from the Project 2025 agenda, the RNC platform committee is packed with officials whose organizations helped author the Project 2025 blueprint. 

Many of those serving on the RNC platform committee have additionally expressed deeply right-wing views on abortion and other social issues. This is relevant because the platform committee typically serves as a springboard for administration hires — at least four members of the RNC’s 2016 platform committee served in the Trump administration. 

The platform committee’s policy director Russell Vought served as director of the Office of Management and Budget during Trump’s administration and helped author portions of the Project 2025 agenda. Vought was credited with blocking funding for Planned Parenthood during the Trump administration, and he now leads a think tank that has called on Congress to “prohibit chemical abortions at the federal level.”

CNN recently reported on comments that Ed Martin, the RNC platform committee’s deputy policy director, made on his radio show in 2022 regarding the tragic story of a 10-year-old girl who was forced to travel out of Ohio for an abortion after she was raped. 

“This 10-year-old was brought up as an example of why abortion is necessary,” Martin said. “I have said over and over again the examples that shouldn’t be the rule, right? You can’t let the exceptions be the rule. Especially when you get engaged in debate. I refuse to do it. I refuse.”

He similarly rejected the idea that abortions are ever necessary to save the life of a mother.

“The reality is that Trump literally put architects of Project 2025 in charge of the Republican platform, and the result is not only the most extreme platform in GOP history but one containing lie after lie,” said Democratic National Committee national press secretary Emilia Rowland. She added that Americans “know Trump wants a nationwide abortion ban.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is the Senate representative on the RNC’s platform committee. She has long supported the idea of a national abortion ban. 

Outside the platform and policy white paper space, it must be noted that the majority of House Republicans in March endorsed a 15-week national abortion ban. That’s where the party stands — and where it intends to go. 

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Republicans have already made considerable headway toward their goal of banning abortion nationwide thanks to Trump. If he wins in November, his party will certainly push to impose a national abortion ban. 

What Republicans say in their platform this year is one thing. What they intend to do if they win power is already obvious.

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