He Said, He Said: Thompson on Abortion

In what seems a sure indication he will soon officially declare his presidential candidacy, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson will appear in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa Friday, meeting with locals and even making a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

But though the actor and lawyer is being celebrated by social conservatives as a possible answer to their prayers for an electable presidential candidate with whom they agree on key issues, Thompson's foray into the Hawkeye State comes at a time when documents from his Senate and campaign archives provoke further questions about whether he truly is the political savior that conservative Republicans hope he is.

The papers that Thompson donated to the University of Tennessee -- which, unlike the first lady papers of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, were made accessible to the public by Thompson -- offer a view as to Thompson's political career that seems not always in firm alliance with Christian conservatives.

ABC News has obtained, for instance, two sets of position papers on abortion from Thompson's 1996 Senate race that indicate Thompson may have been to a degree trying to appeal to both those who support and those who oppose abortion rights.

CLICK HERE to read these two position papers in full.

In one "position paper on abortion" someone has written "(PRO-LIFE)" on the top right-hand corner, and the document states "Senator Thompson has a strong pro-life voting record in the Senate." The paper contains seven examples of votes Thompson cast against legal abortion.

Another "position paper on abortion," however, on which someone has written "(PRO-CHOICE)" omits the statement that "Senator Thompson has a strong pro-life voting record in the Senate," and it does not mention the seven votes he cast against legal abortion.

The "PRO-CHOICE" position paper mentions, as does the "PRO-LIFE" one, that Thompson opposes "federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger," and supports other restrictions, while concluding that "(b)eyond 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. He feels instead that this is a battle that must be won in the hearts and minds of the American people."

Asked for comment, Thompson spokeswoman Linda Rozett said in a statement, "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."

Whether or not answers like that will suffice for conservatives in Iowa and New Hampshire may mean the difference between success or failure for Thompson.

Social conservatives have expressed some disappointment with the current crop of top-tier Republican presidential candidates, finding wanting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for various reasons.

Thompson in no small way has sold his pending campaign as the solution to the dilemma facing those conservatives.

And to a degree, it seems that Thompson's argument may be working.

Contacted about the recently discovered papers from Thompson's Senate archives, Kim Lehman, president of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, told ABC News that she "has no concerns" about Thompson's position on the issue.

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