Pro-life group backs Thompson, draws ire

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Ralph Z. Hallow

Some pro-life ad­vo­cates were as­ton­ished by the Na­tional Right to Life Com­mit­tee’s en­dorse­ment of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Fred Thompson on Nov. 13 — a move they say puts pol­i­tics over prin­ci­ple.

Paul M. Weyrich, pres­i­dent of the Free Congress Foun­da­tion, said the en­dorse­ment “makes no sense,” and spec­u­lated that it was mo­ti­vated by money.

“I think in all prob­a­bil­ity the Thompson peo­ple were en­gaged with the Na­tional Right to Life peo­ple in fi­nan­cial deal­ing,” said Mr. Weyrich, who en­dorsed for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion.

“In the past, the Repub­li­can Party has funded Na­tional Right to Life, and while the com­mit­tee can raise money on its own, it needs fund­ing” from out­side sources.

“Fred Thompson has a 100 per­cent pro-life vot­ing record in the U.S. Se­nate and is proud to have the en­dorse­ment of an or­ga­ni­za­tion that fights to pro­tect hu­man life,” said Thompson spokesman Dar­rel Ng.

David O’Stein, the com­mit­tee’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, also scoffed at the as­ser­tion.

“He’s got to be jok­ing,” Mr. O’Stein said. “There is ab­so­lutely no fi­nan­cial ar­range­ment be­tween the com­mit­tee and the Thompson cam­paign or Fred Thompson.”

Mr. Thompson, a for­mer sen­a­tor from Ten­nessee, op­poses the plank in the na­tional Repub­li­can Party plat­form that calls for an amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion to ban abor­tion.

The Na­tional Right to Life Com­mit­tee sup­ports a con­sti­tu­tional ban, but Mr. Thompson sug­gested that “young girls” who have abor­tions would be thrown in jail and even pros­e­cuted for mur­der.

Mr. Thompson, who fa­vors re­turn­ing to state leg­is­la­tures the power to de­clare abor­tion le­gal or il­le­gal, also said par­ents of un­der­age girls seek­ing abor­tions could be charged with aid­ing and abet­ting in a crime, when defin­ing his stance dur­ing a “Meet the Press” in­ter­view with NBC’s Tim Russert on Nov. 4.

“That’s in­sult­ing” to the pro-life move­ment, Wendy Wright, pres­i­dent of Con­cerned Women of Amer­ica, told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

“I have never heard any­body [in the pro-life move­ment] say that,” Mrs. Wright said. “I found that more egre­gious than his op­pos­ing the Hu­man Life Amend­ment [the pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to ban abor­tions], which ev­ery­body un­der­stands is a long-range goal, given the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate.”

A Mas­sachusetts pro-life ad­vo­cate agreed that pro­po­nents of an amend­ment want crim­i­nal sanc­tions only against doc­tors and oth­ers who per­form abor­tions but not against women — of any age — who al­low some­one to ter­mi­nate their preg­nan­cies.

“It cer­tainly seems to be an ex­am­ple of the com­mit­tee putting pol­i­tics be­fore prin­ci­ples,” said Tom Shields, chair­man of the Coali­tion for Fam­ily and Mar­riage in Mas­sachusetts and a Rom­ney sup­porter.

“I don’t know how one can call him­self pro-life when as a can­di­date or or­ga­ni­za­tion he has said the sorts of things can­di­date Thompson has said.”

Af­ter the Russert in­ter­view, Mr. Thompson clar­i­fied his po­si­tion, say­ing, “I can run on the Repub­li­can plat­form.”

The pro-life com­mit­tee said it con­sulted its state chap­ter pres­i­dents in de­cid­ing who to en­dorse.

“Fred Thompson has had a strong, con­sis­tent pro-life record through­out his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer,” Wanda Franz, the Na­tional Right to Life Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent, said at the an­nounce­ment of the group’s en­dorse­ment in Wash­ing­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.