At the Pennsylvania Press Club, in Harrisburg, Smith made it clear that if he had his way neither his daughter nor any of the 32,000 women estimated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to get pregnant through rape each year would have that choice.
Before we go any further about abortion in cases of rape-as well as other exceptions to an outright ban on abortion that are mouthed by some candidates - let's make it clear: In the first two trimesters of pregnancy, government has no legal right to stand in the way of any woman obtaining an abortion. Her reasons are no one's business but hers and her doctor's.
The firestorm following Akin's and Smith's remarks has shone a politically inconvenient light on the extreme anti-abortion position expressed in the party platform that was approved Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Fla. Like platforms going back several decades, it supports a "human-life amendment" that grants 14th Amendment "equal-protection" rights to fertilized eggs. It would outlaw all abortions, but also some forms of birth control, as well as in-vitro fertilization and stem-cell treatment.
No wonder so many Republican political leaders are trying to pretend that the platform doesn't say what it clearly says, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the actual chairman of the platform committee. On Sunday, after ABC's George Stephanopoulos read him the exact text of the abortion plank that contained no exception for rape, McDonnell responded, "George, you're just reading it wrong."
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday told CBS News that his views on abortion are "clear": He would allow it in cases of rape, incest and the "health and life of the mother." Besides, he said, "This is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts." Except, of course, Romney has also been clear: If elected, he would appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn the abortion rights contained in Roe v. Wade.
And, of course, he chose as his running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who in 2009 co-sponsored a human-life amendment - just like the one contained in the party platform - with U.S. Rep. Todd Akin.
It's quite true that, in the past, party platforms have quietly been retired after an election. But the records of the current crop of Republican leaders suggest that, this time, they might actually follow through on what they promise.