Slide 1 of 29
Party StanceThe 2016 Republican Party platform, released Monday (July 18), details the party's stated principles and policies. Both of the nation's major political parties create platforms in advance of national elections so that voters have a clear view of the agenda the party will pursue if its members are elected to office.
To find out what Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, and other Republican elected officials might decide to do on health and environmental issues, Live Science examined the party platform. Then, our reporters and editors dug into the scientific research related to the party's stances on issues from abortion to electromagnetic pulses to climate change.
[Read our analysis of the Democratic National Committee platform and Election Day 2016: A Guide to When, What, Why and How]
Here's a guide highlighting the Republican National Committee (RNC) platform's beliefs and the science that may support or run contrary to these party stances.
Fetal painSlide 2 of 29
Fetal painThe RNC platform: "Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version."
The science: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at this stage [20 weeks] in development. The best evidence on fetal development suggests that a fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester of pregnancy, which begins at about 27 weeks.
In order for a fetus to be able to feel pain, a number of neural pathways must be developed, to carry pain signals through the body to the brain. A 2005 review article in the journal JAMA sums up scientists’ understanding of how these pathways develop, and concludes that it is unlikely that a fetus would be capable of feeling pain before the third trimester. Since the article's publication, "no research has contradicted its findings," according to a statement from ACOG.
Related: Do Fetuses Feel Pain? What the Science SaysSlide 3 of 29
Recent Supreme Court abortion ruling (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt)Slide 4 of 29
Recent Supreme Court abortion ruling (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt)RNC platform: "We condemn the Supreme Court's activist decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics."
The science: The Supreme Court recently overturned a Texas law called House Bill 2, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (less than 30 miles, or 48 kilometers, away from the abortion clinic), meaning they could admit patients to the hospital if necessary. The law also required abortion clinics to meet standards that are required for hospital surgery centers.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, on June 27, that these requirements did not offer medical benefits to the patients that were "sufficient to justify the burdens upon access [to abortion] that each [requirement] imposes," Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in the court's majority opinion. In other words, the law did not provide basic health and safety standards, as the RNC platform holds.
According to the ACOG, "abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States." Studies show that less than 1 percent of U.S. women who have an abortion will experience a major complication that requires admission to a hospital.
Related: Supreme Court Abortion Ruling ExplainedSlide 5 of 29
Fetal tissue researchSlide 6 of 29
Fetal tissue researchRNC platform: "We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts."
The science: Scientists say that because fetal tissue cells can divide and grow more quickly than other types of cells, they are highly valuable for research, including studies investigating human development, treatment of spinal cord injuries and diseases that affect the brain.
Fetal tissue is also uniquely suited to help scientists understand factors that affect a fetus' development during pregnancy, or that cause miscarriages.
Were fetal tissue not recovered for research, it would otherwise be discarded.Slide 7 of 29
Embryonic stem cell researchSlide 8 of 29