Fred Thompson and the NRLC

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

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.

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