Nation in brief: Thompson covers abortion penalties

A day after touting his “100 percent record against abortion,” Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said Friday that women should face no criminal penalties for having one during the first three months of pregnancy.

Authorities “can do whatever they want to with abortion doctors, as far as I’m concerned,” the former Tennessee senator said. “But … if it comes down to giving criminal sanctions to a 19-year-old girl and her mama, I’m against that.”

Thompson’s remarks came during a swing across a conservative stretch of western Iowa.

Denouncing judges in Iowa, Massachusetts and other states for decisions opening the way to same-sex marriage, Thompson called for constitutional amendments to curb their power to do so.

“What we’re seeing here is a totally judicially created problem,” he told a crowd in Sioux City. “You know how many states have affirmatively approved gay marriage? State legislatures? Zero.”

Thompson said he backed a constitutional amendment to prevent states from being forced to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state under “some off-the-wall court decision.”


Laura Bush will have neck surgery

Laura Bush will undergo surgery today to relieve pressure on pinched nerves in her neck, her press secretary said Friday.

The problem prevented the first lady from accompanying President Bush to Australia this week for the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Sydney.

Bush will be in Australia today, returning to Washington about dawn Sunday.

Spokeswoman Sally McDonough said the first lady was having elective outpatient surgery. She said the physician would use a minimally invasive procedure to take pressure off the nerve by enlarging the passageway where the nerve sits near the spinal column.


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