Santorum: 'Life is a civil right'
January 24th, 2011
08:31 PM ET
4 years ago

Santorum: 'Life is a civil right'

(CNN) - Republican 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum ramped up his criticism of President Barack Obama's stance on abortion writing Monday for the National Review.

This follows a controversy sparked Thursday when the former senator made comments to CNSnews.com comparing abortion with slavery and criticizing Obama's stance on abortion. In the article Santorum explains the merit of his comments, stating that the president has "wrapped himself in the history and legacy of civil rights."

But in the scathing rebuttal to critics posted on the National Review's "The Corner" Monday, the former senator from Pennsylvania also lashed out against the "condemnation" he says he received "mostly, but not exclusively, from the left." And to those who thought their words would silence him, Santorum said they "obviously haven't done a Google search."

"Over a million lives will be taken this year, and a disproportionate percentage of these children will be black. How is this any less a civil-rights issue than any other issue we tie to civil rights?" Santorum wrote.

He further blasts Obama for education choices made for the first family.

"When we point out that our president does not allow the educational choice for poor black children in Washington, D.C., that he provides to his own children, does that make headlines?" he writes, continuing that his support comes from both sides of the aisle.

Citing first, Rev. Jesse Jackson: "In 1977, the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote, 'I believe that life is not private, but rather it is public and universal. If one accepts the position that life is private, and therefore you have the right to do with it as you please, one must also accept the conclusion of that logic. That was the premise of slavery.'

He also sees support in President Reagan's writings: "In 1983 Pres. Ronald Reagan wrote: 'is is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives.The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade...'"

Santorum further compares Obama's response to the question of when life began as "above my pay grade" with Stephen Douglas, the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and who, he wrote, had a "don't care" attitude toward the question of personhood for blacks.


Filed under: Abortion • Rick Santorum
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    this guy is an idiot and really needs to go far away. A woman could become pregnant by a violent crime and it's guys like him (unless it was probably a loved one of his) would say she would have to carry it a full term then of course put it up for adoption. These right wing wackos are always the first ones talking about too much goverment in their lives, YET they have no problem with goverment telling a woman in this instance what she can or can not do. Don't morons like him know if abortion becomes illegal women who want them for whatever reason are STILL going to get them?? Then we'll have more places like they just had in Philadelphia where they can die having it done in unsafe places. IMO this should NEVER be a political issue. no matter which way you go on it.

    January 24, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. NameDaniel R Martin

    I do agree with Sanotorium that the "right to life "is a civil right. It is wrong for. government to decide when life begins. Once that is allowed should government be allowed to decide,outside of capital punishment, when life ends? Who should they decide who goes first, perhaps the elderly? I am a supporter of Pres.Obama but disagree on his right to choose position.

    January 24, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. The Veteran

    Civil rights does not end at birth. The major problem I have with Conservatives on the issue of abortion is the fact that they do not value the lives of born people like they do the unborn. And the fact that they would rather kill than make peace. And their tendency to place sins on a sliding scale for their own judgment, while they ignore their own sins, and while condemning others. They are perhaps the most hypocritical bunch of religious folks in the world.

    Religion does not equal Faith. Conservatives are proof of that.

    January 24, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. Leslie

    I agree. Pretending an unborn child isn't a human life is exceedingly similar to considering a slave less than a whole human being.

    January 24, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. GrogInOhio

    Sounds like Santorum has Palinitis. Once in a hole, keep digging and make it worse.

    January 24, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. RationalFew

    Ummm. And where does Santorum send his kids to school? I just know he had crack pot ideas here in PA and apparently he hasn't changed.

    January 24, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    so according to Santorum President Obama should send his two daughters to a poor black urban school just to prove a point, eh? I'm sure our tax payers would LOVE having to pay the Secret Service to be there with them everyday to make sure they are not kidnapped. And he talks about abortion being disproportinate being black kids? Well I got an idea, I think most of these young black women are single, unmarried and low income so why not have the baby and then TA DA..but it on WELFARE and let it get FOOD STAMPS and HEAD START and all the other "free" stuff that righties like him so detest? You know how many black children stay years in adoption centers because nobody wants them? No way am I saying abortion is the right thing to do esp not for birth control purposes, but the GOP wants to have it both ways and they just can't. Since when did Santorum start to care so much about what happens to the black youth in our country anyway.

    January 24, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  8. SPLAT!~

    You sir, have seven children of your own. How many orphaned/unwanted children have you provided for? I thought so, thanks for playing. NEXT!

    January 24, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. Paul Ernest Show

    Who's Santorum kidding? By suggesting the president has wrapped himself around civil rights, he's subliminally evoking divisive sentiments. He knows how divided the nation has been on civil rights. For someone who wants to be a president, it's a low road to travel. His logic is a deliberate effort to solicit that divisive element that the GOP has always cunningly appealed to. The fact's that the president, understandably, has not giving much attention to civil rights. Many blacks harbor this sentiment. The president is well aware of the need to appeal to all sides of the society.

    January 24, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. Packers Suck

    "Is that life a person under the constitution?" – clearly Rick's comments were spot on in that his point is about "personhood" as addressed in the 14th amendment which also precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation. What a great amendment and yet how sad that life that begins at conception is not protected under the same right to the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Worse yet," Al Sharpton, in his life long work of self worship, continues to plant seeds of dissension as the master deceiver by twisting the kind and compassionate comment of Rick's to perverting it into a racial issue. We all equally deserve condemnation short of Christ work on the cross and the only color that matters is the color of His blood that was shed for those called by Him. Al needs to go back and study the Word of God to understand that the chief end of man is not to glorify Al but rather to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Or, how about this Al; Prov 10:12 "hatred stirs up conflict but love covers all wrongs". What a blessing it is to know that there is room in heaven for all repentant sinners even Packer fans and yes even Al Sharpton. Al – repent and just preach the Word of God and the good news of the Gospel and you will find that lives transformed by the Word of God will miraculously find that they have no desire or tolerance for racism, sexism or even teamism.

    Rich – the tax collector (Luke 18:13)

    January 24, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. Freddy

    Santorum is a loser politician, and he's proving why. He's so conceerned about life, yet, in typical right-wing hypocracy, supports capital punishment and opposes gun control. Yeah, some caring about life! If we're lucky, he won't be elected to any public office again.

    January 24, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess the first question is does Santorum favor (or would allow and use) the death penalty? I don't like it, but if the crime is proven clearly without any doubt, then yes go with the death penalty. When it comes to abortion, there shouldn't be this much furor over it. I just don't understand. If you (or your partner if you are a man) don't believe abortion should be done, then live with the consequences. This means that every teen should be made well aware of the ways to prevent pregnancy starting (but not only teaching) abstence. Other methods must be taught and made available.

    The conservatives like Santorum must realize that people aren't going wait for marriage like we all should. Unless he and his conservative allies are willing to adopt all the babies out there, then they need to understand that there is going to be a need for abortion even beyond the cases of rape, incest and health (physical and mental) of the mother.

    As for the first family's decision where they send their children to school, that is a wrong statement. You would have a family of means send their child to a public school solely because they are Black? I don't think that is really a fair statement. For Santorum, that is hypocritical since you didn't send your kids to any school in PA while you were a senator. It is one of the things that lost you the election.

    January 24, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. AR

    saw a bumper sticker today that read "It's a Life not a 'choice.'" Made me very happy. I love Tennessee...

    January 24, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  14. mfhpr

    Santorum – did you not recently say something to the effect of not allowing a black man decide what is best??? What might that have meant???

    January 24, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. Jeff-CO

    Why does this guy continue to race bait? He must really want attention. Definitely not racist, but trying to get media attention by baiting incoherent thought processes together to try to get some sort of response from the President. No matter – no way he gets the Rep nom anyhow.

    January 24, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. namelessbanana

    How come its always conservative republican males who scream about personal liberty and keeping the government out of their lives but love to have fits over what I do with my uterus?

    January 24, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. GE in MD

    This person, R. Santorum, is a very dangerous theocrat. I hope the primary voters stop him cold. No one should be using the power of government to enforce a specific theological position which does not have a broad social consensus.

    January 24, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  18. The reality is...

    Of course life is a civil right but the progressives choose not to allow that right and they have the right to choose...they just don't want the unborn to have that same right. Go figure.

    January 24, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. Steve Fielder

    By all means, Mr. Santorum, please keep speaking. You're doing a fine job of exposing your true nature: a self-righteous hypocrite who invokes "faith" to justify bigotry....

    January 24, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Here's how you lower the number of abortions:

    – Make birth control cheap and accessible – and socially acceptable as the right thing to do.
    – Hold men truly financially accountable for every child they sire.
    – Teach age-appropriate and medically accurate sex education, starting in the early grades.

    In the meantime, keep your hands out of women's womb, Santorum!

    January 24, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. independent

    Republicans belief that life is a civil right, but apparently not health, not jobs, not a living wage, not clean air and water, not safe food, not sound banks, not social security, just life.

    January 24, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. John

    Then logically he must support socialized health care...or did I miss something? From what I recall these wingnuts are pro-birth, not pro-life...

    January 24, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. normajean

    Interesting that this Republican feels so strongly about the "right to life" and against abortion, but at the same time is one of the party that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare , both of which are keeping thousands and thousands of the sick and elderly alive, but he and his party are doing all they can to pull the rug out from under these people. All this time they are fighting to pass benefits on to the wealthiest.. Hypocrisy is rampant in the Republican party.

    January 24, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  24. texasgreenacres

    personally I don't eupport abortion but women that seek them have rights to, and while I may not agree with their desicion it is their right to make that desicision right or wrong. and not a goverment or a legal desion.It is a desicision of concience by the woman making it. no one has to live inside her mind it is a choice of her own. and we shouldn't dictate what others should or should not do in these matters. let those that feel the need for this handle things like they want. the world is already over populated.

    January 25, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. Todd

    The last thing we need in the White House is a hardcore Roman Catholic theocrat who wants to impose Vatican rule on the United States of America...especially one who takes cheap shots at the President's race...

    January 25, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
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