Fred Thompson and the NRLC
It is interesting that the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has chosen to endorse Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, a man who once offered legal advice to a pro-choice group, voted against key prolife issues in the Senate and now espouses convoluted reasons for rejecting constitutional protection of the unborn.
In 1991, Mr. Thompson served as the White House liaison for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, a pro-choice group that lobbied former President George H.W. Bush to overturn a ban put in place by the Reagan administration preventing the government from funding family planning clinics providing abortion information.
Mr. Thompson, who was a lobbyist working at a prominent Washington law firm, voluntarily agreed to take the case.
Also, during his tenure in the Senate, Mr. Thompson repeatedly voted to uphold the McCain-Feingold campaign finance restriction laws stifling free political speech, laws recently opposed by the NRLC’s own Wisconsin chapter. That chapter won a judicial battle this summer when the Supreme Court ruled the group had the right — despite challenges under the McCain-Feingold laws — to air certain TV and radio ads during primary and general election seasons. The NRLC itself on at least three occasions during Mr. Thompson’s Senate term included votes related to McCainFeingold as key votes on their congressional scorecard, votes needed to ensure the vitality of the pro-life movement. Mr. Thompson received a failing grade each time by voting for McCain-Feingold.
Recently, Mr. Thompson refused to support a constitutional amendment that would protect innocent life by restricting the availability of abortions. The sanctity-of-life amendment was a core plank in the Republican Party’s 2004 election platform, and yet Mr. Thompson said he could not support it, saying his objection stems from his federalist views.
However, in 1995 he voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. If he were concerned about states rights he would have let them issue their own laws on the matter. Also, if Mr. Thompson were concerned about cluttering the constitution with superfluous amendments, he would not have supported a 1997 constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.
These are some of the facts showing why we think it is interesting that the nation’s premier pro-life organization would back a candidate with such a checkered past and present on abortion.