Republican National Committee Backs 20-Week Abortion Ban

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It may not be in the party platform, which only gets changed at the national GOP conventions every four years, but Republicans now supports a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Republican National Committee passed a resolution to that effect at its spring meetings today, an RNC spokesperson confirmed. Committee members of the RNC, two from each state, gathered in Memphis to hear debates on policy issues and roll out a new GOP data and targeting program. The party is dedicating more resources to matching Democrats' tech efforts in 2012 and dedicating more field staff to competitive states. It will also hear from Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and vote on resolutions.

The resolution on abortion bans states that "the Republican National Committee strongly supports federal, state, and local pain-capable unborn child legislation that bans abortions at 20 weeks of gestation and beyond."

The anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List praised the vote.

"Americans are united in their support for commonsense legislation to stop abortion more than halfway through pregnancy. We thank the Republican committeemen and women for affirming all efforts to end barbaric late abortions nationwide and urge Democrats to do the same," SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said.

Since 2010, bans on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation (and, in some cases, fewer) have swept through GOP-controlled legislatures. Republicans have passed bans in 13 states since 2010, driven in most cases by gains in state legislatures in the 2010 and 2012 elections. North Dakota and Arkansas enacted the most restrictive bans, at six weeks and 12 weeks respectively. Five of those bans are tied up in federal courts.

Here's the full resolution:

RESOLUTION ON PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION LAWS WHEREAS, Republicans have championed the sanctity of human life in our National Party Platform for nearly four decades; and WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has become the party of pro-abortion extremism, dropping even the wish that abortion be "rare" from their party's platform; and WHEREAS, led by the state of Nebraska in April 2010, 14 states have now enacted versions of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection laws, almost always by overwhelming margins, recognizing the reality of pain in the unborn and providing legal protection for the unborn at 20 weeks (almost 5 months) of pregnancy and beyond; and WHEREAS, on June 18, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the national Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to provide legal protection for the unborn at 20 weeks of pregnancy and beyond in the United States; and WHEREAS, as of March 18, 2014, at least 40 Republican members of the U.S. Senate have cosponsored the companion bill to the House-passed legislation; however, the Democrats in control continue to callously approve of this barbaric practice; and WHEREAS, substantial medical evidence confirms that the unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks, if not earlier; and WHEREAS, public opinion polls on abortion after almost 5 months of pregnancy show that Americans believe this practice should be banned; 80 percent of Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester and 64 percent reject abortion after 12 weeks while 63 percent of women believe it should not be permitted after the point where substantial medical evidence says the unborn child can feel pain; and WHEREAS, late-term abortion is emotionally and physically harmful to women, destructive of the ethical norms and reputation of the medical profession, and offensive to the canons of law, medicine, and society that require us to protect the weak from the strong, the powerless from the powerful; therefore be it RESOLVED, Republican National Committee reaffirms its core principle of the sanctity of human life in our party platform for nearly four decades, namely, that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life that cannot be infringed; and be it further RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee strongly supports federal, state, and local pain-capable unborn child legislation that bans abortions at 20 weeks (almost 5 months) of pregnancy and beyond.