Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Fred Thompson told Tim Russert he would oppose the pro-Life plank in the GOP platform (above), in favor of state-by-state laws on abortion. While many candidates, such as Mitt Romney, support this as an incremental step toward outlawing abortion, Fred Thompson sees it as a substitute.
Thompson's rationale is that he is a Federalist, and that the Federal government is already too big. As such, he believes states should determine abortion law (as was the case before the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973). While I am sympathetic to this argument, and generally agree with Federalist philosophy (for example, I think states, not the federal government, should control education), among the few true responsibilities of a Republic is the protection of fundamental rights such as, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Furthermore, if one believes life begins at conception, as Thompson says he now does, then he also believes abortion is murder. Why wouldn't the 14th Amendment protections then also apply to the unborn?
Conservatives have long compared the abortion issue to slavery. Among the obvious parallels is the fact that allowing slavery in one state essentially made it legal in every state. It seems to me that, in this case, the "state's rights"/slavery analogy is apt.
While I applaud Fred Thompson's commitment to limited government and a small Federal government, he should re-think his position on the Life issue. Again, it is one thing to support overturning Roe, as an incremental step toward defending Life. It is quite another issue to oppose the plank which has been with us since 1980, in the GOP platform.