Republican Mitt Romney's campaign has been frustrated that President Obama has mischaracterized his position on abortion in several television ads. The spots say Romney backed a law that would outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Not true, says the Romney campaign.
Now, with Democrats all ginned up to exploit Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" remark, the platform committee of the GOP convention is poised to hand its opponents more ammunition. The committee is expected tonight to approve, once again, an anti-abortion plank that does not include an exception for rape. The Republican National Committee isn't releasing the draft language, though spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski says it's essentially the same as the 2008 platform.
"We don't get into specifics such as exceptions because that is left up to the states,'' she said. "We give a strong, 100 percent pro-life sentiment.''
Tom McClusky, a spokesman for the anti-abortion Family Research Council, who is in Tampa monitoring the platform deliberations, said exceptions for rape or incest would set off alarms in the conservative wing of the party.
"Life is life. A baby shouldn't be punished for an act it didn't have a role in,'' he said. "The platform lays out the principles of the party, and we want to show what those principles are. It's a standard we can hold candidates to.''
The chairman of the platform committee is "Gov. Ultrasound,'' as Democrats derisively refer to Bob McDonnell of Virginia after he signed a law requiring women seeking abortions to get ultrasound exams. His role at the convention also gives Democrats fuel to accuse the GOP of waging a "war on women'' as Obama seeks to further widen the gender gap with Romney.
The Romney campaign tried to clarify its position on abortion to distance the nominee from Akin, saying "A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.'' But don't expect Democratic attacks on Romney's abortion stance to ebb, considering vice presidential pick Paul Ryan's co-sponsorship of a "personhood'' bill with Akin and the now-glaring absence of a rape exception in the platform.