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. Mike from MN

    Can he account for the evidences that debunk ORIGINAL SIN? Without ORIGINAL SIN, Christianity has no basis.

    January 25, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  2. whoa!

    Oh, Ricky boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling........

    Please tell that, "Life is a civil right" to the surviving Iraqis, who lived through the slaughter of 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children who died by the hands of the fascist Bush admin and their pack of lies......

    Please try to give me an intellectually honest answer, if you can Ricky Boy, oh Ricky Boy.

    I know that you won't, because you can't, so don't even try, your silence will speak for you and your legions of neo-fascist, oopps, I mean neon cons, I just get them mixed up all the time......he, he.......

    Liars and fascists.......

    January 25, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. Peter s

    We live in a society of self denial!! lets stop talking about abortion and when life starts and start talking about how can we teach our young girls to close their legs and the boys to zip-up their jeans!!. Lets evaluate the cause and effects and stop treating symptoms while advertising sex after every 5 minutes!!

    January 25, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  4. Michael

    OK, Mr. Santorum, let's say I accept your premise that life is a civil right. If that's true, what about AFTER the baby's born? The battle for life doesn't end once a child is born; in fact, that's when it truly begins. That's also when we see how hypocritical many, but not all, pro-lifers are. They see their victory in the birth of a child, but don't seem to bat an eye at the poverty or abuse many children suffer later. You cannot just espouse about the civil rights of life at birth; you have to also take a good look at the subsequent years, and that's something all too many GOPers do not do.

    January 25, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  5. RonTex

    Sarah Palin uses the libelous and slanderous "blood libel" in response to criticism of her as relates to the recent Arizona shootings. Now, Rick Santorum equates abortion as slavery, even using a quote by Re. Jesse Jackson to make his fallacious point. How outrageous!

    Enslavement of blacks was based on blacks as property, not as human beings at any stage. Female slaves were treated as reproducing livestock that required breeding with the best male(s) (and occasionally the white owner) to produce a stronger, more profitable slave.

    Abortion in the United States is directly related to our culture that doesn’t prepare our young to resist sexual pressure nor equip them with the most effective and proven tools to prevent unintended pregnancies. Only when we become less prudish and religiously dogmatic about sex and sexuality will we begin to meaningfully address and reduce the number of abortions.

    And Rick, you need to make a full throated apology for your statements as regards slavery and abortions, without some any attempt at justification.

    January 25, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  6. Julie C

    For the party that constantly screams, "too much government", how do they justify government creating laws that take away a woman's right to choose? So what they mean is government is ok as long as it's aligned with their ideology? Keep your religion out of politics. "Over a million lives take" they say? Why are those who aren't even viable humans yet considered more important than our children who fight in wars, or the lives of innocent people who die everyday as a result of war?
    Thank goodness we have a President who allows people to make their own choice. If you don't want an abortion, don't have one and shut up.

    January 25, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  7. malabar

    What i dont get is the hypocricy of treating the fetus as a human life when that life is terminated by someone other than the mother or her doctor, and someone is charged with murder, but the fetus is trash unworthy of love or a chance at life if it is the mother who chooses to murder the baby. so what is it? maybe some dems are up to the task of petitioning the courts on behalf of prisoners who murdered unborn kids. if indeed dems do not see it as murder. how can it be a life or not be a life depending solely on who takes that life? twisted evil

    January 25, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  8. A keen observer

    Santorum is just another republican "family values" bigot trying to force his pseudo christian values down everyone else's throats. These wingnut hypocrites should put their "christian" values where the sun doesn't shine.

    January 25, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  9. KR

    So for intellectual and moral consistency, does Rick Santorum also support a repeal of the death penalty? Either life is a civil right, or it isn't.

    January 25, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  10. kat

    I know what he was saying and good for him. We must protect our unborn children and shame on those who choose to make this a race issue.

    January 25, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  11. KenneyP of Colorado

    Republican 2012 presidential hopeful seems to want more government interference into the personal lives of American citizens. He further seems to want to impose his moral standards on everyone else regardless of their own religious beliefs. Finally he lectures President Obama for the personal family choices that Obama makes. This former senator also probably wants to eliminate health care coverage for needy Americans while keeping his taxpayer paid elite healthcare plan.
    Santorum cannot to seem understand "above my pay grade" doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t care but that since Obama doesn’t consider himself GOD, Obama cannot determine when ‘life’ begins. Heck the experts can’t even determine when that happens.

    January 25, 2011 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  12. Pretzel Logic

    Santorum is a tool and no one will vote for him. "Don't care" aptly describes what 99% of the electorate feels about him.

    January 25, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  13. Ben A.

    God bless Santorum

    January 25, 2011 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    Santorum has a right not to choose an abortion, even a right to attempt to persuade a woman he impregnated not to choose abortion.
    However, Santorum has no right, civil or other, to require any woman to choose against an abortion.
    When will America grow up?

    January 25, 2011 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  15. Obama is, always will be my President

    "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. "
    In the case of Rick Santorum, the fiscal sleight-of-hand is quite personal. In public, he rails against funding for programs that help other families, but in private he takes every advantage he can for himself and his own family.
    Look at how he deceived a struggling school district in Pennsylvania into to paying $100,000 for cyber-school tuition for his five children – even while they were living in a well-off school district in Virginia.
    That’s right. Between 2001 and 2004, Santorum enrolled five of his children in the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. Since Pennsylvania law requires school districts to pay for students who live in their district but enroll in cyber schools – and since Santorum claimed his residence was a house in Penn Hills, Allegheny County – the Penn Hills School District paid $100,000 for the Santorum children’s tuition.

    January 25, 2011 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  16. Ain't life strange?

    The literal definition of birth is, "the beginning of life, as in child birth." That was found in every source I searched. Based on Santorum's premise, and reduced to the rediculous, we should wage no further wars that put the sacred life of one human being at risk of loss. You can't have it both ways. A life is a life regardless at what point in its existance it is. We must protect them all if we expect to protect just one. Santorum is a vile and evil man wanting to create an air of anger and hatred to specific ends that are not in keeping with civility, and just not a logical thought process.

    January 25, 2011 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  17. willie floyd

    This man appears to belong to the same group who wants to change our democracy into a theocracy. As a christian for more than 50 yrs., I believe in the separation of church and state. My faith belongs in my heart, in my church, in the way I reared my children, and in the way I treat my fellow man-not in our government-that's why we have a constitution.

    January 25, 2011 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  18. Ain't life strange?

    "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?" ... quoting Santorum

    Well, Rick... I can't afford the same educational choice for my children either... because I don't have the money! Now you're going to spin this so that its a bad thing he can afford to send his children to a private school and others can't. I guess Rick the only solution would be for the other parents of school aged children who want that same opportunity of choice is to take advantage of our system of capitalism and free enterprise and improve their lot in life. But, they better do it quick before you and your cohorts completely tip the scales to that top one percent of this country.

    January 25, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  19. ramtruck2500

    What a hoot! Ya all for this if it only deals with abortion. But its ok to let 1 american die every 12 mins. from lack of health care. He is simply a jerk.

    January 25, 2011 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  20. Marie MD

    pouting boy, give it up and don't waste your money. You are NOT going anywhere near the WH unless you drive by it.

    January 25, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  21. joe blow

    what's up, brother. can't you find a real job? you must be seriously delusional to think that you can win the presidency after losing a senate race in pennsylvania as the incumbent.

    January 25, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  22. 11cavnam

    I find it strange that a man is discussing the right of a woman to have an abortion. When Rick Santorum can give birth then and only then can he talk about abortion rights for women. He has put his foot in his mouth and is trying, ungracefully to attempt to pull it out without making several different voting blocks mad at him. As far as where the Obama's put their children for an education, is that the best complaint he has? Is he now so arrogant that he thinks he should be able to decide where to send other peoples children to be schooled at? Santorum seems to want to suck up to his core of loyal followers, but, if this is what his loyal followers want, i.e. control of a womans body, deciding where other people's children should be schooled, this does not sound like a freedom, rather it sounds a bit like a totalitarian government.

    January 25, 2011 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  23. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    Folks do your homework on this crackpot. Google him and see how much corruption led to him being tossed out office. He is far, far, right on everything. Look and see how Pittsburgh PA had to sue him for bilking their school system. Also there are very odd things like him taking his still born baby home from the hospital and sleeping with the baby and taking family photos. He brings his religion into politics and that is just what we don't need.

    January 25, 2011 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  24. Indy

    Does Santorum even know what year it is ? Does he realize that there is a little job problem going on right now ? Does anybody care what was said in 1977 and 1983 ? Civil Rights is not at the top of the list right now and not sure why Republicans only answer to all problems is Ronald Reagan, are they aware that he is dead and cannot help them, my God Republicans live in the past and never have a solution for the current problems.Jobs first and foremost before anything !!!

    January 25, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  25. KatR

    Comparing abortion to slavery makes no logical sense to me.

    January 25, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
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