by Steven Ertelt
June 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson didn’t participate in the Republican presidential debate last night. However, he appeared on a national television show and made his views on abortion known again as he repeated his desire to see the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion case overturned.
Appearing on the "Hannity and Colmes" show on the Fox News channel, co-host Sean Hannity asked Thompson about his views on the key pro-life issue.
Thompson has come under some criticism from pro-life circles because he took an official pro-abortion position in 1994 when he looked to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.
Hannity referring to that and asked about a survey Thompson completed at that time showing him checking a box saying "Abortion should be legal in all circumstances for the first three months."
"That wasn’t your voting record, interestingly. Did you make a mistake checking the box?" Hannity asked.
"I don’t remember that box. You know, it was a long time ago, and I don’t know if I filled it out or my staff — based on what they thought my position was — filled it out," the former attorney responded.
Thompson then discussed the state of his current views on abortion.
"But here’s what the deal is on that. I’ve always thought that Roe v. Wade was a wrong decision, that they usurped what had been the law in this country for 200 years, that it was a matter that should go back to the states," he said, endorsing its reversal.
"When you get back to the states, I think the states should have some leeway," he added.
Thompson then appeared to articulate a position opposing putting women in jail for having abortions — something the pro-life movement has long opposed, and then Hannity cut off his answer and referred back to the state’s rights comment Thompson previously made.
"So states’ rights for you?" he asked the potential GOP presidential candidate?
"Essentially, federalism. It’s in the Constitution," he responded.
Thompson’s comments were similar to remarks he made to Fox News in March on the subject.
Then, Thompson told Fox News he is pro-life and wants the high court to reverse its decision in Roe — calling it "bad law and bad medical science."
"I don’t think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country that’s contrary to what it’s been for the last 200 years. We have a process in this country to do that," he said about the Roe decision.
"Judges shouldn’t be doing that. That’s what happened in the that case. I think it was wrong," he added.
Thompson compiled a 100 percent pro-life voting record on abortion issues while in the Senate, according to the National Right to Life Committee. He only disagreed with the organization on the issue of campaign finance reform, which it said would limit its activities.
He told Hannity in the Tuesday night interview that he would support a repeal of some of the most damaging provisions, including preventing citizens groups from airing certain ads near an election — a provision pro-life organizations strongly opposed.
During his tenure, Thompson cast two votes against a Senate resolution endorsing the Roe v. Wade decision and urging the Supreme Court to uphold it.
The former Tennessee senator voted against funding abortions with taxpayer dollars in numerous situations and he voted for a ban on partial-birth abortions, to uphold parental involvement laws, and to prohibit scientific research using fetal tissue from babies who were the victims of abortions.
Thompson also won praise from the pro-life community for helping Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts with his nomination bid. Roberts eventually ruled in favor of the national ban on partial-birth abortions.
Thompson served eight years in the Senate beginning in 1995 after he won a special election to complete the remainder of Sen. Al Gore’s term. He won re-election in 1996.