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. Jan

    How come social conservatives don't care about the lives of America's females?
    Santorum laments fetuses being treated as property. When the Constitution was written, women were property! This about the rights of women not to have Rick Santorum come between themselves and their doctors! I guess Santorum thinks he's a doctor because he stayed in a Holiday Inn last night. Get out of our lives!

    If Santorum really cares about children and Life, maybe he will eradicate childhood poverty in America. Poverty touches 20%(!) of our population every single day. Why haven't we eradicated poverty? Because of greed, like tax cuts to millions on the Chinese credit card.

    Christ: Worry about people
    Anti-Christ: Worry about taxes

    January 25, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Kenneth Krieger

    Perfectly phrased. Truthfully spoken. Ken Krieger, Cape Coral, Florida

    January 25, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. kmp

    If he is going to use this argument then can you not say then having health care is my civil right. My right to have access to affordable healthcare that could very well help save my life? Just wondering.

    January 25, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. GODZILLA1

    Oh Rick, did you study American history at all? If so, did you learn anything about us? What a totally ignorant demagogue you have turned out to be.

    January 25, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  5. kmp

    Secondly I flind it sickening his constant reminders that blacks at one time weren't considered "human", if anything he is the most open racist of them all.

    January 25, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. beevee

    Let women decide on this issue. I know everybody has a right to express their opinion on this issue. It does not not mean they are right.

    January 25, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  7. James Pfeiffer

    Santorum is another example of how the fundamentalist, neo-conservative Christians are working hard to erode the constitutional premise of separation of church and state. We see fewer and fewer real "statesmen/women" in government anymore, rather we see special-interest pawns, myopic small thinkers and dangerous religious fundamentalists. For a politician to be focusing on the "red herring" abortion issue, instead of the real issues surrounding our broken government, is an example of what, in fact, is the problem.

    January 25, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. Bass Mitchell

    Just two comments:

    One, everything he says has to be taken with this in mind – most likely he is a presidential candidate for 2012. So the underlining phrase that should be between each word of anything he says or writes is, "Obama bad" "Santorum good". One should remember the same thing with anything coming from Romney.

    Second, Santorum, like so many others of his ilk, loves unborn babies. It's the ones already here they don't love – as why else could you explain the constant votes against health insurance coverage, as many of those babies have to live without it? Until he and those like him show more compassion for the millions of children already here, I will not listen to his words about the ones not yet here.

    Our president, like the majority of Americans, is not pro abortion. I don't know anyone who thinks abortion is a good idea. But we are for this to remain a very personal, private decision for the persons involved, not left to mostly a group of white men who use it as a political issue for their own personal advancement.

    January 25, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    This is why, whatever good qualities, if any, Santorum may have, I'd never vote for him. He's a religious fanatic. And the last thing this country needs is a fanatic, of any kind, as President.

    And, contrary to the opinions of Jesse Jackson and Rick Santorum, my life is private.

    January 25, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  10. LGNY

    Invoking Abolitionism, Civil Rights, Jesse Jackson, Reagan, .....

    This feels like a "Hail Mary" pass trying to generate some enthusiasm for his candidacy.

    January 25, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  11. Pat in IL

    This man is a "presidential hopeful"??? Good grief, he has one, angry agenda, and that is to diss the president, and he has to really stretch to try to do that. I would not want him to be making any decisions for me or my country.

    January 25, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. Don

    This man actually thinks citizenship starts at conception. Please read the constitution Rick

    January 25, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  13. give peace a chance

    Hey, Rick,

    If I were you, I wouldn't criticize anyone on their choice of school. Were you not voted out as senator of Pennsylvania by a very large margin, in part, because your children attended cyber school in PA while living in Virginia?? What was that phoney address you used in Penn Hills, billing that school district, when you didn't live there, or even visit? That is cheating, sir.

    I

    January 25, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. chill

    It took us 12 years to get rid of this embarrassment as a Senator, we sure don't want Mr. K-Street back as President. We also don't need this theocrat forcing his own religious and moral views on all of us. There is not a consensus of when a fetus stops being part of one individual's body and has a life of its own, and I don't accept Mr. Santorum's. This isn't Iran, Senator. We can make our own moral jusgements based on our own beliefs.

    January 25, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. a in austin

    Another goper (just like my guv Rickster Perry) – let's bring up abortion so the sheeple forget about the budget deficits. No ideas, no plans...leave my choice alone!

    January 25, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  16. Rob R

    Ugh. Earth to Santorum – people care about JOBS, not your right wing extremist views. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that once the GOP regained some power that they would focus on anything and everything EXCEPT jobs.

    I find it utterly fascinating that so many poor, working class people are die hard Republicans when pretty much most of the Republican platform is AGAINST these types of people. They don't like unemployment benefits. They don't like social security. They don't like Medicare. They like it when millionaires get most of the tax breaks. They prefer having loose regulations on everything so smart, greedy bankers can take advantage of poor and uneducated saps.

    BUT, because they claim to have "moral values" (which they really don't), these people eat it up.

    So, these people care more about some unborn baby that they would never ever know then actually bettering the lives of their own families. They honestly believe that the Republicans represent the teachings of Jesus, when they are actually the biggest sinners. Makes me sick.

    January 25, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. Louisiana Man

    Spare me the sanctimonious babble from the pentacle of the moralist 'Rick Santorum'. These judgmental hypocrites have more gall than money.

    To quote Jackson is in it self laughable. Like Ricky gives a rat's butt what the good reverend has to state.
    As for a poor example of politician's offspring sunning themselves in the limelight of stellar education while the children of lesser gods dwell in a less achievable atmosphere-
    Let me present our good governor-Bobby Jindal-himself a product of a numero-uno education-is cutting funding to education in the poor state of LA. But I can bet the farm, his three children are NOT going to be siphoned off to the fate that awaits the poor kids of LA.
    -

    January 25, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - John "The Weeper of the House" Boehner

    "Over a million lives will be taken this year, and a disproportionate percentage of these children will be black."

    True. So what is your stance on gun control in the United States Mr. Santorum, since I'm sure you're aware that homicides among african americans are the highest in the country. What's your stance on education? Right now you sound like a bunch of hot air.

    January 25, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. VM

    OK, then health care is a civil right.

    January 25, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Its interesting how Santorum is cobbling together a response out of items that are not necessarily related to each other. When referencing Lincoln, its important to remember that Lincoln was wiling to do anything to keep the country together even if it meant keeping slavery alive in some areas and only saw abolition as politically safe after 2 years. What is even more to point is what was Jesse Jackson referring to in his 1977 speech? Santorum gives no clues that he even read the whole speech: my guess is that he googled "slavery quotes" and found a list of nice, snappy sayings that he could put into an op-ed piece. The idea that Santorum is pushing ranks right up there with the Birthers and the Flat-Earth Society, and it will resonate with the same group of people that will believe anything so long as it is about the opposition. Santorum may be bright, but he's not well-read or a good researcher.

    January 25, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. dctwmt

    Santorum is one dangerous man...radical beyond belief, and should NEVER be allowed to become President.

    January 25, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  22. FatSean

    Rick Santorum is trying to say Obama isn't black enough? Are you serious? Doesn't anyone remember Rick Santorum's gaffes of the last decade? Check urban dictionary under "santorum".

    January 25, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. slipthalo

    Santorum is like most of the GOP – once you're born, you're on your own.

    January 25, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  24. dinaosullivan

    I am not a supporter of abortion, but I do support a woman's right to choose even if I don't agree with it. How can a man decide what a woman should do about something that a man does not experience even for a minute. What a stupid thing for men to want to make decisions that affect women! Mr. Santorum, you are not a compassionate man even in the smallest sense. This is not your decision.So shut up. Dina O'Sullivan

    January 25, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  25. DAW, NC

    You can spin your beliefs into anything you want but it does not make them right. this guy is very scary in how he views the rights of people and how he would insure that he applies those rights in his actions and thoughts. rigid moralistic thinking is just that, it does not make it right. He is someone who ones to get the government of the peoples backs unless it is to mandate thinking along his beliefs and values ignoring other points of views. unfortunately we have seen this in the world before and it has not been good for those countries or states or nations

    January 25, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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