Fred Thompson Senate Archives Show Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Position Papers

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fred Thompson Senate Archives Show Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Position Papers Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 17,

Washington, DC ( — Likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson is making his first trip to Iowa today in what could be a precursor to announcing an official candidacy. However, the Thompson camp is confronting a new report showing two sets of position papers on abortion in his Senate archives.

ABC News combed through the archives of papers Thompson made available to the University of Tennessee after representing the state in the U.S. Senate.

It found two one-page papers from 1996 discussing Thompson’s abortion position that appear to paint the senator in the best light when his record is described to either side of the abortion debate.

The pro-life version includes a presentation of Thompson’s pro-life voting record and details seven votes against taxpayer-funded abortions and one supporting the ban on partial-birth abortions.

It includes the following explanation of his position:

"Senator Thompson has a strong pro-life voting record in the Senate. He has consistently voted against federal funding of abortion … In addition, he voted for legislation that would ban partial-birth abortions. He supports states’ efforts to place restrictions on abortion, such as parental notification and 48-hour waiting periods."

"Beyond that, Senator Thompson has said that the federal government should not be involved in the issue of abortion. He does not believe that early-term abortions should be criminalized, but feels instead that this is a battle that must be won in the hearts and minds of the American people."

The pro-abortion version contains nearly identical language, but omits the list of pro-life votes and the language concerning his "pro-life voting record."

The pro-life version contains a handwritten notation "pro-life" in the corner and the pro-abortion version contained a "pro-choice" notation.

ABC News asked Thompson representative Linda Rozett for a comment.

"These papers show Sen. Thompson’s position on abortion is clear and consistent. He has a 100 percent pro-life voting record in the Senate," she said.

Despite the eleven-year-old papers, Thompson has aggressively promoted a pro-life position as a potential candidate for president, repeatedly saying he favors overturning Roe v. Wade and appointing judges who would be more likely to do so.

He has also said he opposes forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.

Asked about the papers and whether they would cause pro-life advocates to abandon Thompson, Kim Lehman, president of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, told ABC News that she "has no concerns" about where Thompson stands.

She said Thompson’s "voting record is what we look to determine whether or not what he says is what he’s going to do.

"He has a record and his record speaks for itself. As for this documentation, I would be speculating as to what it means," she added. "But the reality is he’s pro-life and will be pro-life and we can count on him to be pro-life. I believe the man."

David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, also talked with ABC News and said there no indication on the papers as to who wrote them and whether they accurately represent where Thompson stood then or now is questionable.