Seventeen months before the 2020 Republican National Convention, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan suggested that the strong pro-life plank in his party's platform "should be open to debate and discussion among the people."
Hogan, vice chairman of the National Governors Association, made his comments on the party's platform in an interview with Newsmax during the NGA meeting in Washington DC last weekend.
"It's a very difficult issue," Hogan told us, "and it's not a black and white issue. I know there are people who say, in every single case, no abortion should take place. There are others who say there should be no restrictions whatsoever up until the moment of birth."
The governor also voiced his belief that "most people are in between. I'm not sure it should be the No. 1 defining issue of either party. I was always pushing for state's rights to let the states make those decisions themselves."
The party's 2016 platform underscores support for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that the 14th Amendment protects unborn children from being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process. That position has been in every Republican platform since 1980.
The 2016 platform language, however, went further than previous platforms in proclaiming opposition to "the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare."
Hogan has a long history with the pro-life cause. His father, the late Rep. Larry Hogan, Sr., R-Md., was one of the early congressional leaders in the anti-abortion movement. The elder Hogan also sponsored one of the first Human Life Amendments in Congress.
The younger Hogan campaigned as a strong pro-life candidate as the Republican nominee for himself in 1992, when he opposed current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
As a candidate for governor in 2014, Hogan proclaimed his opposition to abortion but always said "he will not try to change Maryland's laws protecting women's right to the procedure nor to contraception."
"I know there are other people in the party who feel differently," said the governor, who has been characterized by the National Abortion Rights Action League as "mixed choice."
He added that "most people in party are fairly pro-life—certainly the activists are. I don't know what the latest feeling among most registered Republicans is. But it should be open to debate and discussion among the people."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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