Members of the Republican Party are engaged in a debate over the plank in the GOP platform calling for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Rep. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and seven other pro-choice Republicans met last week to discuss strategies for challenging the plank three months in advance of the party’s national convention in San Diego. The moderates, who maintain that most party members support abortion rights, are encouraging open debate on the subject after stifled discussion at past conventions. Snowe and Rep. James Greenwood (R-Penn.) intend to work with the Republican Coalition for Choice to confront the issue. Several Republican governors, including Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, have warned against leaving the anti-abortion plank intact.
Snowe plans to meet with newly-elected convention chair, Henry Hyde, a strong opponent to abortion rights, and with other party leaders to alter the plank and acknowledge that many Republicans are pro-choice. At the very least, Snowe hopes a more diverse debate will lead up to the August convention than in years past.