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GOP chairwoman personally disagrees with Alabama’s lack of rape, incest exceptions in new abortion law | His Word - Christianity Today

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Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Friday that while she personally favors exceptions for rape and incest, she was willing to accept Alabama’s controversial abortion ban as another aspect of the party’s broad tent.

“Personally, I would have the exceptions. That’s my personal belief,” McDaniel said before adding that the party didn’t have a “litmus test” for its members. “If you agree with us 80 percent of the time, I want you to be a Republican,” she said during an appearance on CNN.

Her comments came amid concern that Alabama’s ban went too far, creating a political liability even as it offered the Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.

McDaniel indicated she felt that landmark decision didn’t give states enough flexibility on abortion and that her party was open to Republican legislatures tailoring their laws for their own people.

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“We are the party of life,” she added, “however, we have senators like Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and governors on different sides of that.”

In 2016, the abortion section of the RNC’s platform didn’t mention rape and incest exceptions, but advocated a constitutional amendment guaranteeing protections for the unborn through the 14th amendment.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., said Thursday that Alabama’s law went too far for him. “I defend my pro-life position for my whole political career,” he reportedly said during a news conference.

“But in my whole political career, I also believed in rape, incest or life of the mother. There was exceptions.”

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Meanwhile, pro-life activists like Live Action founder Lila Rose have defended the law.

McDaniel, during her CNN interview, also focused on Democratic abortion stances that she suggested were extreme. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, she noted, passed legislation that would allow abortions up to the point of birth.

Cuomo specifically pushed that law as a way to codify Roe v. Wade — something Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she would do at the federal level if she won the 2020 presidential election.

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For years, both sides of the abortion debate have been duking it out over state-level initiatives regulating abortion in a variety of ways. With a seeming conservative majority on the Supreme Court, the laws could act as test cases for overturning precedent like Roe or Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

While it’s unclear whether the White House will support the Alabama law, it came alongside the administration’s tough anti-abortion agenda, which gathered praise from pro-life advocates and fierce criticism from groups like Planned Parenthood.

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