WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Republican National Committee has delayed the start of the party’s annual winter meeting in order not to conflict with the 2014 March for Life in Washington.
Chairman Reince Priebus told The Washington Times that there was “a real interest among a significant portion of our members to attend and support the Rally for Life.”
“This is a core principle of our party. It was natural for me to support our members and our principles,” he said.
Priebus, a Greek Orthodox lawyer from Wisconsin, decided to delay the start of the party meeting so that he and other committee members could attend the Jan. 22 event on the National Mall in downtown D.C. Party members told The Washington Times that such a delay is unprecedented.
Priebus said the Republican National Committee will charter a bus to and from the March for Life for those members who want to attend.
Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin said that the chairman made the move after learning that several committee members were planning their own activities for the March for Life. About 20 members were planning to hire and share the cost of a bus from their hotel to the event’s rally.
The March for Life marks the 1973 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of people gather each year at the rally and march to the Supreme Court Building in Washington.
Priebus said he will attend the event and make “a few simple modifications” to the party meeting schedule.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, addressed the March for Life last year.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision has had a major impact on both political parties.
Though the Democratic Party once had many leaders opposed to legal abortion, its platform now “strongly and unequivocally supports a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”
Many past Republican Party leaders have supported legal abortion. However, the current party platform, citing “the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence,” asserts “the sanctity of human life” and affirms “that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life, which cannot be infringed.”
The Washington Times said that Republican Party donors have historically opposed party support for an abortion ban, citing fears it could alienate women voters, especially the unmarried and the young.
Solomon Yue, a Republican National Committee member from Oregon, said he doubted Priebus’ action would have consequences among wealthy donors.
The March for Life can be viewed on EWTN and EWTN.com.