This Guy Is Leading the RNC’s Platform Committee—and He Wants Abortion Patients Jailed

Despite reports that the Trump campaign removed anti-abortion delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention in an effort to appear more "moderate," the deputy policy director for the platform committee supports abortion criminalization and opposes rape exceptions.

This Guy Is Leading the RNC’s Platform Committee—and He Wants Abortion Patients Jailed
Photo: CNN

In recent months, state-level Republican parties have been adapting their official 2024 platforms, and they’ve been terrifying: The Texas Republican Party wants to criminalize IVF, and appears to want the death penalty for abortion patients, while the North Carolina and Idaho parties similarly recognized IVF as murder. And if you were optimistic that the national Republican Party’s official 2024 platform would be any less draconian, unfortunately, I’ve got news for you.

Allow me to introduce you to Ed Martin, the deputy policy director for the Republican National Convention’s platform committee, and one of the three leaders chosen to shape the official GOP stances ahead of the convention. A new deep-dive from CNN exposes the attorney and former chair of the Missouri Republican Party as an anti-abortion extremist who used his radio show to celebrate the end of Roe, claim abortion pills are “dangerous,” and call for even harsher anti-abortion policies.

“If the conversation is, ‘Well, should there be a federal ban?’ And the consensus is that there shouldn’t–I disagree. I disagree with the consensus. I would like to see U.S. Senators and U.S. congressmen and women elected to office who would say, ‘Let’s ban abortion,’” Martin said on his radio show, the Pro America Report, in April, according to CNN, which reviewed dozens of episodes from 2022 to 2024.

Early Tuesday, Politico reported that the Trump campaign had intervened to remove two “hardline” anti-abortion delegates from the Republican Party platform committee ahead of the convention, which takes place in Milwaukee from July 15 to July 18. Apparently, when the two South Carolina delegates ran for the committee, they insisted they’d refuse to “water down” any GOP position on abortion, marriage, or Israel. Removing them, according to the outlet, is meant to demonstrate how the party is “poised to moderate its stance on abortion at the direction of former President Donald Trump.”

If only! Regardless of any gimmick the Republican Party—certainly, Trump himself—attempts to pull to hide its anti-abortion extremism, they’ve already exposed themselves. Trump proudly gutted Roe, would enact a national abortion ban, has suggested states should surveil and punish abortion seekers, and expressed interest in birth control restrictions. But if you’re trying to appear more moderate, getting rid of two random anti-abortion delegates isn’t going to help when one of your committee leaders openly wants to jail abortion patients. Let’s hear more from Martin, shall we?

“The true bane of the pro-life movement is the faction of fake pro-lifers who claim to believe in the sanctity of human life but are only willing to vote that way with a list of exceptions,” Martin said on his show in June 2022, in opposition to rape exceptions.

In May 2022, shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision leaked, Martin spoke at length about jailing abortion patients and how to win the PR war around this. “The late Phyllis Schlafly, whom I worked so closely with, used to say, ‘If you get to claim and frame the argument, you almost certainly get to win.’ In other words, if you take their framing, it’s a woman’s right. Are you gonna put women in jail? No. It’s about a baby. Now, what do we do? Frame the argument. Own the argument,” he said. He then affirmed his support for jailing doctors who provide abortions, which is currently imposed by most state abortion bans, and explained his support for criminalizing abortion patients themselves:

“What do you do with the woman that has an abortion? I don’t think we have a good answer yet. Some people say that they shouldn’t be held liable in any way. Some people say they should have some kind of penalty, something on their record. I certainly think that you’re gonna find a lot of people that step away from jail time. But if you believe it’s a baby—I do—then you have to do something to protect the baby. …

“You don’t just turn your back and say, ‘Oh, well, you know what? In that family over there, I don’t care what they do to their family, that’s their family. I don’t care if they take their five-year-old kid, and they, and they, let ‘em starve to death.’ No, you don’t do that. You say, ‘We have to have some laws that hold us together, and we have to be careful about it’…But we certainly would say in the case of starvation or life and death, there is an interest in the state to say, ‘Hey, what are we gonna do here?’”

TLDR: Martin compared having an abortion to… starving a born, living child to death. As for how he thinks born, living children should be treated? Here’s what he had to say in July 2022 about whether child rape victims should be forced to birth their rapists’ babies: 

“This 10-year-old was brought up as an example of why abortion is necessary. I have said over and over again the examples that shouldn’t be the rule, right? You can’t let the exceptions be the rule. Especially when you get engaged in debate. I refuse to do it. I refuse. I’ll just tell you, I think abortion’s wrong. I think it’s wrong because of morality. I think it’s wrong because of science.”

Martin further spread lies about the safety of medication abortion as part of an obvious push to ban what’s become the most common (and very safe!) form of abortion. He also lied that abortion is never needed for medical emergencies: “It’s an absolute scientific fact that no abortion is ever performed to save the life of the mother. None, zero, zilch,” Martin said in June 2022. And in a concerning nod to fetal personhood, Martin said on Roger Stone’s podcast in May, “The platform will respect life in every moment,” which suggests he believes that life begins at conception.

If Martin’s background weren’t enough to prove there’ll be nothing “moderate” about the Republican party platform, I now give you Randy Evans: Trump’s U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, the executive director of the platform committee, and another one of the three platform committee leaders. “The platform isn’t being watered down, and anyone who says otherwise is working to disrupt the convention where Donald Trump will make American history,” he told the Washington Post this week. Cool!

Members of the platform committee, which includes one male and one female representative from each U.S. state and territory, are set to gather in Milwaukee this weekend to begin updating the official platform. Martin, joined by Evans and Russ Vought (the influential White House Office of Management and Budget director under Trump), will lead the way. Here’s what he had to say about abortion as recently as April: “Don’t tell me to stop talking about abortion. Don’t tell me that because you don’t think it’s a winner politically, I’m supposed to stop talking about abortion.” If he’s willing to lose elections over abortion, something tells me he’s not particularly inclined to enact a “moderate” platform!

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