Fred the Federalist on abortion and euthanasia

| 4 Comments


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Clearly the National Right to Life Committee attempted to tutor Fred Thompson between his November 4 interview on Meet the Press and November 18 interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

But NRLC failed. On three major pro-life issues, Thompson continued to frankly stink. And on one he dug his hole deeper.

First, I don't understand Thompson's fixation with nonexistent state laws that would send girls and women to jail who abort. There never have been such laws, and there never will be. Thompson's insistence on bringing up this abortion industry scare tactic, unprovoked by any interviewer and all the while maintaining he doesn't want to discuss hypotheticals, only puts thoughts in people's minds that ought not to be. He needs to just shut up about that.

This was Thompson's incoherent but NARALesque response on MTP re: states making abortion illegal:

I - 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.

And on TW:

I think #1 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 tried but performed little better on this issue on TW than MTP.

Second, Thompson remained adamant on TW that abortion should be a state issue, again bucking the Republican platform that supports a constitutional human life amendment. This was what got Thompson scratched off my primary presidential potentials list.

Third, Thompson dug his hole deeper on Terri Schiavo, expounding on his MTP statement to say euthanasia should also be a state issue.

Stephanopoulos prefaced this portion of the interview by stating:

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.

Thompson's response:

Well, what I said was ultimately if the families can't get together its first recourse needs to be the state government. That's what I've always said. 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. The details of the state law and the presumptions and burdens of proof and things of that nature have to be left up to those who fashion those laws which would be the same people who were involved in the Schiavo constrovery, citizens of that state.

Well, I'm just speechless. I can't fathom that O'Steen and NRLC say they were drawn to Thompson by that answer. For one thing, he is saying he opposed NRLC's support of Congress and the president's attempt to intervene in that case. And apparently Thompson would stand by as president if a state authorized the killing of two-year-olds. His logic on abortion and euthanasia demand that position.

Click on photo below to view entire interview. Thompson discusses Schiavo at 4:52, his view on states setting abortion policy at 9:15, and criminalization of mothers who abort at 10:00:

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One final point. Stephanopoulos maintained Schiavo was brain dead and Thompson concurred. This is patently false. Read Bobby Schindler's press release following that interview.

Read my previous posts on Thompson's performance on MTP here and here.

[HT: for Stephanopoulos interview, Laura L.; for Schindler press release, Fran at Illinois Review]

4 Comments

Other life issues (murder, rape, etc.) are state issues today. Why should abortion not be the same thing? That is a more correct parallel rather than slavery.

You can argue against Fred's position all you want, but his approach will result in more abortions being stopped in a shorter time frame than the push for life amendments. The current estimate is that there need to be a change of at least 30 votes in the Senate to get a life amendment passed. That will take many years to get that turnover.

Fred did NOT agree with Steph that Schaivo was brain dead. This was clearly a new allegation to him and it was not relevant to his position. Really, Fred was arguing that even if it turned out that she was brain dead, the parent's wishes should have been followed. But he still contends that this is an issue for the states to determine (as I said before, just like murder, rape and most other crimes).

The Pro Life movement needs to have a reality check and not decide that just because someone disagrees with your proposed solutions does not mean that he stands against you. While Huckabee is a strong supporter in the Presidential race, so is Fred. The difference is that Fred will make a bigger difference far quicker than Huckabee.

In a 1996 Tennessean article Thompson acknowledged his role as "an abortion-rights defender in a party with a pro-life tilt" as he headed to the Republican National Convention.

"We need to concentrate on what brings us together and not what divides us," Thompson said in an interview at the time, brushing aside his differences with the GOP's official pro-life stance.

Frankly, I'm tired of the posturing by candidates like Thompson who tailor their position on life issues to appease social conservatives. A presidential candidate concerned about justice would demand the criminalization of abortion at all level of government.

And how do you match his "abortion rights" stance with his voting record, which is pro-life?


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