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Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and likely presidential candidate, wants all abortions outlawed. He has even said that abortion providers should be “criminally charged.” Clearly, his compassion for zygotes, fetuses, and other squishy, jelly-like substances not fully alive is without question. When it comes to actual human beings, however, there is some doubt. He voted to cut every social and welfare program that came before him as senator, and not just those helping women and girls, but those helping the poor, immigrants, children in general, and, of course, education.

Mr. Santorum doesn’t hate all people, however. As a Republican, he loves rich people, white people, business people, and Christians. The real Americans, he calls them. There’s one other person he loves, too: his wife, Karen Santorum.

He loves her so much, in fact, that in 1997 when she became seriously ill during the 2nd trimester of her pregnancy, he didn’t want her to die.

In the 19th week of her pregnancy, Karen discovered during a routine exam that the fetus she was carrying had a fatal defect and was going to die inside of her. A long-shot surgery was performed that required cutting directly into the womb. It carried a high risk of infection and was performed not to save the fetus, but to reduce Karen’s complications while she attempted to go full term.

Two days later, she became severely feverish. She was rushed to the hospital and placed on intravenous antibiotics, which reduced her fever and bought her some time, but could not eliminate the source of infection: the fetus.

Karen was going to die if her pregnancy was not ended, if the fetus was not removed from her body. So, at 20 weeks, one month before what doctors consider ‘viability’, labor began as a result of the antibiotics and the infected fetus was delivered. It died shortly thereafter. Once the Santorums had agreed to the use of antibiotics, they believed they were committing to delivery of the fetus, which they knew would not survive outside the womb.

They named it Gabriel Michael Santorum.

The event is obviously tragic, especially for Karen, who, like her husband, opposes any and all forms of abortion, even when it saves a woman’s life. As her fever subsided, she realized what was happening and asked for drugs to stop the labor, saying, “We’re not inducing labor. That’s abortion. No way.” But it was too late.

Today, hindsight being 20/20, Karen says she would have authorized the procedure after all, justifying the saving of her own life by explaining that her other children would have lost a mother.


The procedure, whereby labor is induced to remove the fetus before it has any chance of surviving on its own, is considered by Mr. Santorum to be a ‘partial-birth abortion’, and he is correct. He also personally authorized one to save his wife, whom he loves.

Mr. Santorum is opposed to any and all forms of abortion. Incest? Too bad. Rape? Too bad. Twelve years old? Too bad. Wife, mother, daughter, lover, friend dying? Too bad.

This hypocrite needs to be kept out of all elective offices for the rest of his life.

“Abortion in any form is wrong,” said Santorum in 2000, three years after the tragedy. “Except for my wife. If your wife’s life was at stake and the only thing that could save her was an abortion, well, too bad. Your wife will have to die. It was different with my wife. You see, I love her. I don’t even know your wife’s name.”

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sources: Raw Story, New Yorker, NOW, Our Silver Blog


Update: Response 1, Response 2


EDIT: wording changed in paragraph six to better reflect the Santorums’ understanding of intravenous antibiotic use in removing the source of infection (the fetus), per Steve Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer,  May 4, 1997.

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