Is Fred Thompson Pro-life?
The Stephen Douglas of the 2008 race
By Jill Stanek
November 28, 2007
A week before the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Fred Thompson, I blogged he had disqualified himself from my list of presidential primary picks following his Nov. 4 interview on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert.
During those moments, Thompson revealed he's in the same death camp as Rudy Giuliani, just with more exceptions.
Between that interview and one on Nov. 18 on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, NRLC endorsed Thompson and clearly tried to tutor him.
But it failed. Thompson unsuccessfully tried to pull one of three coffin nails he'd hammered two weeks prior, while he pounded another harder. I was left more curious than before about NRLC's decision.
Thompson is counterproductively fixated on nonexistent state laws that would send girls and women to jail who abort. There never have been such laws, and there never will be. His insistence on suggesting this abortion industry scare tactic, while maintaining he doesn't want to discuss hypotheticals, only puts thoughts in people's minds that ought not to be. Thompson needs to just shut up about that.
This was Thompson's disconcerting response on "Meet the Press" after Russert said, "I have 10 different statements from you saying that you would not ban abortion, it's a woman's right and you would not ban it in the first trimester":
… People ask me hypothetically, you know, OK, it goes back to the states. Somebody comes up with a bill, and they say we're going to outlaw this, that or the other. And my response was I do not think it is a wise thing to criminalize young girls and perhaps their parents as aiders and abettors or perhaps their family physician. And that's what you're talking about. It's not a sense of the Senate. You're talking about potential criminal law.
Would Thompson ban first trimester abortions? Not sure. Here was Thompson's slightly-less-but-still-cluttered response on "This Week":
I think, number one, that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned. We need to remember what the status was before Roe vs. Wade ... it goes back to the states. ... Most of the laws now outlaw the doctors who perform these things. They don't criminalize young girls. So we really need to examine what the state law is and what it would be, and it's hard to do hypotheticals in great detail.
Thompson is clear that the question of abortion legalization should be a state issue, putting him in opposition to the Republican platform that supports a constitutional human life amendment.
While Thompson says he would not thwart the platform, the more important issue is his unconscionable position that despite believing human life begins at conception, he thinks states should be free to kill those humans.
Hadley Arkes recently wrote in First Things of the similarities between Stephen Douglas' pro-slavery position and Giuliani's pro-abortion position, which is identical to Thompson's except to disagree which governmental entity should control its legality:
Douglas ... concluded … people should be free in the separate territories to vote slavery up or down. But, as Lincoln pointed out, he had indeed reached a moral judgment. If he had regarded slavery as a wrong – as Douglas had regarded polygamy – he would have understood that a wrong is that which no one ought to do, that anyone may be properly restrained from doing. To say slavery is something legitimate to choose is to say that slavery stood in the class of things "not wrong. …"
Lincoln said that Douglas was … teaching a policy of "indifference" – that slavery just did not matter enough to stir such divisions in the country.
Likewise, Thompson thinks states should be free to legalize killing the disabled.
Stephanopoulos brought NRLC into the discussion:
David O'Steen of the National Right to Life Committee said one of the reasons they chose you is that you clarified your position on end-of-life issues, families facing the situation like the Terri Schiavo case. He said you clarified that issue for him and you may be doing so publicly. What did you say to them privately that you haven't said publicly? In public you've said this should be an issue for families and the courts but not state and federal governments.
… What we talked about in a little more detail is the different kinds of end-of-life issues. ... I don't have a legal position other than it oughta be resolved in a state court system. People have a right to make the laws in their own state to resolve these issues. If families can't get together ... then it should go to the state court mechanism.
I can't fathom how O'Steen was drawn to Thompson by that answer, particularly since the NRLC helped draft the federal law that attempted to intervene in the Schiavo case. Thompson would not have signed NRLC's bill into law.
Clearly, Thompson would stand by if a state were to re-establish slavery. He would stand by if a state legalized the killing of 2-year-olds. His logic on abortion and killing the disabled demand these positions.
The NRLC has just endorsed the Stephen Douglas of our generation.