Reporting Tim Kephart
TAMPA (CBSMiami) – When Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin made his comments last week about “legitimate rape,” it vaulted the hot-button issue back into the national debate as both parties vie for the lead coming out of their respective conventions.
Republicans also are pushing the envelope of the issue by calling for all abortions under any circumstances to be forbidden in their new platform being revealed in Tampa at the Republican National Convention.
According to Politico, if the Republican policy was put into law, the U.S. would join only four out of 230 countries in the world to forbid abortion under all circumstances. The other four countries that outlaw abortion under any circumstance are El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
Bringing the hot-button issue of abortion back to the forefront of the debate will serve to galvanize the more conservative base of the Republican Party, but could also bring with it a backlash amongst female voters in the country.
President Barack Obama’s campaign has long sought to push the idea that Republicans are anti-women through different topics, most notably abortion, Planned Parenthood, and reproductive rights. It all started when President Obama said businesses must provide free birth control for women under their insurance.
It was later changed to allow some organizations like churches to opt-out for religious reasons. But, Republicans tried to pass the Blunt amendment to overturn the requirement, but a fierce backlash ensued amongst women and Democrats as roughly 2/3 of those surveyed supported the President’s move on birth control.
The attacks on Planned Parenthood could backfire amongst independent voters as well. According to Politico, most nations, including Iran, Bangladesh, and North Korea provide government-funded, family-planning services. That could isolate Republicans even further in the world.
Until Akin’s remarks last week, the debate on abortion and women’s rights had been simmering just below the surface of the presidential race. Now that the issue is taking a front-and-center place in the debate, both candidates will seek to use it to rally their bases and try to attract the remaining undecided voters out there.
For the record, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said he favors outlawing abortions with some exceptions for rape, incest, etc. His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has favored outlawing abortions under any condition in the past.
The real debate will only take place after the election once one party or another gets into a position of power to make the changes it sees fit.