ABORTION: California GOP Dissidents Push for Platform Change
More than half of California's Republican Party delegates -- 52% -- favor a "platform that is neutral on the issue of abortion," according to a new independent poll sponsored by Planned Parenthood Republicans for Choice. The poll also indicated that 60% of delegates support platform language that "leaves it up to each individual and candidate to form his or her own position on abortion -- according to his or her own conscience" (Planned Parenthood release, 9/24). Members of the moderate California Congress of Republicans, a dissident party group, planned to use the survey results to "attempt to force debate" on an alternative platform at Sunday's biannual convention. Convinced that the state party's anti-abortion plank "is costing the GOP support among women," and "puts pro-choice candidates in a difficult position in which they have to denounce their own party's positions," the dissidents met Friday to draft an alternative platform, which provided general principles on a range of topics including education, gun safety, health care and abortion. In response to the poll results, the dissident document declares that the party should "work to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in the United States but allow individuals to form and articulate their own positions." Party chair John McGraw, a staunch abortion foe, said that while party leaders want the organization to remain "an open forum for debate," this weekend's convention is reserved for "training activists," and the platform would not be debated until February. Although the party's platform committee will hear the alternative proposal at that time, most agreed that "the current platform wording" against abortion "is not going to be deleted" (Borenstein, Contra Costa Times, 9/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.