GOP Anti-Abortion Plank Nothing New, Just Ask Tommy Thompson

In the contest for the open US Senate seat in Wisconsin is heating up Republican nominee Tommy Thompson would like voters to believe that in a party full of anti-woman extremists, he is a moderate.

The problem for Thompson is of course that he is no moderate. Even as Thompson called on Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri race after insisting women can prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape” when explaining how the GOP could support a no abortions under any circumstances plank Thompson was hoping Wisconsin voters have a short memory.

That’s because in 2000 Thompson helped author the Republican Party Platform, including a constitutional amendment banning abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. At the time Thompson had a more moderate position on abortion, but that all changed when he was tapped to be in then-president George W. Bush’s cabinet.

It’s a familiar trend among the Republican establishment. As the fringe of the party has pulled the leadership further to the right, their stances on once settled issues of law–such as whether women have a fundamental right to control their bodies–shifted with the base. Thompson is not the exception in that regard, he is part of the rule.

Of course, those who have shifted hard to the right like Thompson will need to reconcile with the independent-minded and far more moderate voters he will need if he has any hope to defeat rival Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November.

Related Stories:

It’s Thompson v. Baldwin In Wisconsin Senate Race

On House Floor Tammy Baldwin Shows Why She’s A Serious Senate Contender [Video]

Photo from IowaPolitics via flickr.


Paula M.
Paula M.4 years ago

Sherrie B., I can anticipate how the Republican Party’s proposed constitutional amendment would play out because in many ways we still live in a country that recognizes the Rule of Law. The proposed amendment would not “ban abortions”, as you say, but would instead recognize the life interest of the unborn child. As I have explained, this would not prevent laws allowing abortion in specific cases, such as laws allowing abortion to protect the life of the mother.

The story you tell from the Dominican Republic seems to be an example of a badly implemented law, not a bad law per se. While it is questionable whether the poor girl would have survived at any stage in her pregnancy a properly-crafted law would have given her access to chemotherapy as soon as it was medically advisable.

I don’t believe it is useful to pretend that the world does not contain gray areas where the call may be a tough one. But there is also a saying that “hard cases make bad law,” and to outright refuse to oppose an evil because there may be places where it is hard to know where to draw the line is worse for those who are innocent victims than to draw the line as best as we can.

Paula M.
Paula M.4 years ago

Danielle K. could you give me a list of Republican candidates who have said over and over that they oppose abortion even to save the mother’s life?

As the interplay between small government and abortion, every political group (except for anarchists and perhaps extreme libertarians) recognizes that government has a role in protecting the lives of the weak when wrongfully threatened by those who are stronger than them.

Paula M.
Paula M.4 years ago

Gene J., I agree that the process of Constitutional amendment is a high hurdle to pass. To reach that point it would be necessary to convince a large segment of the American population that it is important to value life in this way.

But it is to the credit of the Republican party that it is committed to work without our Constitutional system to obtain relief. It is a welcome contrast from those Democrats who shrink from the political cost of promoting their agenda in open legislation and who instead depend on activist judges or an overreaching executive to realize their policy goals. Such paths may be politically easier but cause damage to our political system and to the rule of law; I am glad that the Republicans are taking the high road.

As to the supposed waste of legislative time, a bill of this nature would be very simple to draft and could be fairly debated in and out of Congress without impeding Congress’s ability to accomplish other work. In addition, I doubt that any such amendment would be proposed until and unless there was a real chance of its passage.

Sherrie Brunell
Sherrie Brunell4 years ago

Excellent questions, Lyn B. Green star for you.

These are the sorts of questions we should ask those who are pro-forced birth (my new favorite way of describing those who describe themselves as "pro-life" but are usually also pro-war and pro-death penalty). These are the sorts of questions journalists should be asking those who propose any sort of ban on abortions.

Because these are real, valid questions. What are we going to do with these children when we can't take care of the ones we have now? One in five children right here in the US go hungry every night. That's 20%. If 20% of our children already go hungry, how are we going to feed the extra 1.3 million per year we will have if an abortion ban goes into effect?

We need to stop debating ideology since those who support the ban are only arguing with their ideology (it's all they have), and start debating the realities of what a ban on abortion would actually mean for our society and for the lives of the children that they force to be born.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

Vote for Freedom! Vote for Democrats!

Obama + Biden 2012

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

Lyn B. We know there are not enough people who would be willing to adopt those 'undesirable children' even if there was enough room on this earth for them. If there were enough people willing to adopt children there would be less children in orphanages, and foster homes, or on the streets. Why are these anti-choice people adopting?

The Democrats are a party of differing views, we do not march in lock step. But we do have a vision of equality. Even though we might have differing views on abortion we respect others. Basically we are a pro-choice party...those who are anti-choice still respect the right of the individual to have their choice. We don't force our opinion on other women, and we would never try to outlaw abortion, or contraceptives.

Linda H.
Linda h.4 years ago

Storek most pro life Democrats think that they already have the choice to die trying to give birth. If they have strong feelings on the matter they know that they can talk to people about it and don't need to make more laws pushing a religion down peoples throats and up their vagina's.

Linda H.
Linda h.4 years ago

Ah, Steve R., you've spent years yammering against abortion here. I imagine your leader must have just had a change of heart on the subject to make you post such a silly comment after an internal poll of some kind. I feel sorry for you knowing that most Republican women are going to think all this personhood business goes too far and know that you need to keep religion out of politics. There was always the idea that abortion and birth control were legal so that they could go ahead and vote for the rest of the platform and feel safe but not any more.
And hey how about that return to the gold standard thing in the platform just how long has that been in there? I guess that is for the Glen Beck fans who bought all those

Storek Sc
Storek Sc4 years ago

to the leftist writer of this article, Jessica. Why is it when ever you write on this subject, you ignore a large voting block within the dem party, that is Pro-Life Democrats? Why is that my dear?


Arild Warud
Arild Warud4 years ago

Reminds me of another politician who stated: "This is my opinion untill I get another one".