by Steven Ertelt
November 16, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Add former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to the list of potential Republican presidential candidates in 2008. The pro-life former Wisconsin governor told a group of Iowa activists that he plans to file his papers to establish a formal exploratory committee after the first of the year.
Thompson served 16 years as the governor of Wisconsin, and, if he is the Republican nominee, would give the party a real shot at winning a state that has gone Democrat in the last few presidential elections.
He also served as the HHS secretary during President George W. Bush’s first term in office.
"The times are right for my ideas," Thompson told The Associated Press on Wednesday and said that health care would be one of his top issues as president. He said he wants to shift funding from treatment to prevention.
During his tenure with the Bush administration, Thompson defended President Bush’s strong positions in favor of funding abstinence education and against using taxpayer dollars to back any new embryonic stem cell research.
The Bush administration spent $190 million on adult stem cell research and put in place a policy preventing the use of taxpayer funds for any new embryonic stem cell research.
In a July 2004 letter, Thompson also defended the president’s position against taxpayer funding for new embryonic stem cell research.
"Before anyone can argue that the stem cell policy should be broadened, we must first exhaust the potential" of currently available embryonic stem cell lines, he wrote.
In addition to abstinence and stem cell research, Thompson frequently touched on high profile pro-life issues while at the HHS department helm:
In March 2002, the National Cancer Institute‘s web site contained misleading information alleging that researchers found evidence of report bias in studies showing the abortion-breast cancer link. Upon learning of the error, Thompson directed the agency to remove the information. NCI later adopted a position claiming no abortion-breast cancer link exists.
In 2002, Thompson unveiled a new Bush administration policy allowing unborn children to be covered under the federal-state CHIP program that provides health insurance coverage for children in poor families. Pro-life groups hailed the decision as another way to help pregnant mothers and reduce the financial factors that compel some women to have abortions.
"Prenatal care is crucial to the health of both mother and child, and this change will allow [states] to offer prenatal care to thousands of additional pregnant mothers and their unborn children," Secretary Thompson said. "Vital services during pregnancy can be a life-long determinant of health and we should do everything possible to make this care available to everyone."
Thompson launched an investigation in August 2003 to determine whether Advocates for Youth, a sexual education organization, used federal dollars to lobby against abstinence-only education.
Thompson also pulled the plug on a federal agency’s plan to support an international conference that is backing abortion.
In August 2004, Thompson told the Alabama Health Department that it was not required to distribute the morning-after pill that sometimes causes abortions.
As Wisconsin’s governor, Thompson signed an unborn victims bill into law that made it a separate crime to injure or kill an unborn child during a crime against the mother, protecting the unborn child throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.