SALT LAKE CITY — The long-anticipated abortion showdown at the Republican platform hearing here finished in a muddle of ambiguity.
Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles (R), platform committee chairman, declared a small victory Tuesday in that "we have both sides at the same table." But he added, "I don't see these sides coming together."
That was enough for conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly to declare her own victory. "We're winners," she said after testifying that it would be folly for the GOP to back off its call to outlaw abortion. "I'm very confident. I think you've seen the fight."
But Ann Stone, chairwoman of Republicans for Choice, predicted a fight on the convention floor this summer if the platform isn't made more hospitable to party members who favor abortion rights.
"This was our opening salvo, not the end of the war," Ms. Stone said of the hearing. "If they think that what we've done so far is all the pressure we're going to bring, they're wrong."
Kate Michaelman, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, unhappily agreed with Ms. Schlafly's assessment. She said Senator Nickles's comments indicated that "there's no room for discussion on this."
But she added that the GOP might reconsider its stand if the Supreme Court dramatically curtails abortion rights.