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. Bill

    Anything to get his name in the papers. And to talk about Slavery!!!!! Don't go there mister Conservative. Sounds like the male version of Palin!

    January 25, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  2. TomNPITT

    Slavery was illegal and stated so in th Constitution. Abortion is legal.
    Santorum is insane. That's why Pennsylvania voted him out of office by a landside.
    Oh yea – and he's a liar an a cheat.

    January 25, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. DemFL

    I just don't get this.. the right wants child birth for EVERYONE, but after the child is born they don't want to pay for medical or anything else. You can't have both so if you want life, then support life to its fullest financially as well.

    January 25, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. rdepontb

    Santorum has had the look of a loser for his whole career. Not just the looks...that's wrong. Rather, the demeanor, tone, body and verbal language of a loser. Here he seeks to incite racial divides, just to be able to break himself out of the herd. Shameful; no wonder he is still looking for work years after losing his Senatorial position.

    Shameful, Mr. Santorum. Anyone aspiring to lead any part of this great nation needs to be better than that, don't you agree?

    January 25, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. rs

    Republicans lie! In my home state of Arizona, the Republican Governor, and legislature have committed 98 innocent adults to death for the crime of being poor by ending the state's transplant program (to save $1.5 million). In addition, the Governor is petitioning to remove an additional 300,000 from the state's Medicaid roll. This in a state with the 2nd highest poverty rate in the U.S.. Again- targeting the poor as less-than-human. Meanwhile, they push their narrow anti-abortion activities, claiming they are "pro-life". GIVE ME A BREAK!

    January 25, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Liz the First

    Life is a civil right. but only when you're an actual person. the anti's can't tell the difference between actual and potential. a fetus is a potential person, not an actual one. a fetus is part of the mother's body until it is born and receives its own life force and consciousness. then, Mr Santorum, it has civil rights. before that, the mother is the one with the rights!!!

    January 25, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    poor delusional pin head. He's pandering to the wrong set of people. And his choice of words is, just like Failin Palin questionable but he pulls the "victim" card anyway

    January 25, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. USA401

    I thought republicans wanted to shrink government and leave people to make their own decisions in their lives. This seems hypocritical to me.

    January 25, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Arun

    This is a party, Republican, that says hay we should protect life. That's great, but what about guns and wars that they support. They really don't care about life at all!!

    January 25, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. w l jones

    Abortion is between those who give and a person who recieve one. We all left every corner of planet earth for more right than where we came from. Remember those who came over one hunder thousand years ago and still live on this land for there civil right.

    January 25, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  11. RICO

    Why can't these guy understand that it is the individuals right to choose abortion or not and NOT his? I agree the argument that abortion should not be funded with tax dollars unless extreme cases as rape and or incest, but if an individual wants to make that choice they should be allowed too.

    January 25, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. jc

    It's called choice.

    January 25, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  13. Jon in Rochester NY

    If life is a civil right, then I guess that Rick Santorum must agree that health care is a civil right as well. With out health care, people die!!!!

    January 25, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  14. abe

    He should be talking about how we can work on a bipartisan way instead of bringing up abortion that we will be fighting for a long time. It is a the right s of people to believe in what they want to believe in but do not be stupid enough to bring abortion to the forefront when we have a bigger problem. He talks about over a million abortions this year and most of them will be blacks. So Mr. Santorum if you daughter gets pregnant and has an abortion you can do it is discrete and not anyone know about it. But because of people like you blacks as myself will be a statistical comparison and not respect there civil rights of privacy. You do not have any smarts about civil rights because you have never been denied your civil rights anywhere close to the black people in these country. If the president chooses to educate his kids to his choice that is his right. So lets not been an arrogant human bening who most likely run in 2012 and for sure you are starting on the wrong foot. Mr. Santorum knows that abortion is a big issue and will never be solved unless we come up with a law that all parties will agree. When people have abortion they do not think what religion they follow. It is a medical or personal issue. Here me again Mr. Santorum this is also taking away your civil rights. How many whites have abortion every year and there statistics is not a public record. So lets not talk about black rates of abortion. You are the one who does not understand what Civil Rights stands for and respect the civil rights of black people.

    January 25, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. gregg

    If abortion is akin to slavery, then the Iraq war is akin to abortion or the death penalty is akin to abortion. Aborting a life in the womb, through lethal injection or in the deserts of Iraq is no different. Taking a life is taking a life no matter how you label it or how "nobel" you make it sound.
    Republicans have absolutely no problem taking a human life, as long as there is money, (oil) in it.

    The anti-abortion stance of the republican party is a recruitment tool designed “purely” as a hook to keep the emotional Christian voters in their base, nothing more.

    Mindless sheep

    January 25, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Tony in Maine

    Which means that access to health care in order to maintain life must be a right.

    Uh Oh Rick, you just upset the whole Republican Party, the members of which consider access to health care should limited to those chosen by God and blessed with sufficient funds to buy health insurance.

    January 25, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  17. Seattle Sue

    It doesn't matter what Santorum said, he will never be President of USA. The people of his home state voted him out in 08. What does the voters have to do to explain that they don't want him and his hate anymore. Santorum and Allen(Macaca Man) are finished.

    January 25, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  18. Don Lee

    He has it backwards. Pro-lifers would prefer it if, when you got pregnant FOR WHATEVER REASON, you would be forced to bear the child, WHETHER YOU WANTED IT OR NOT. That sounds like a kind of slavery to me.

    January 25, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  19. Rush L

    So the right will no longer fight for the death penalty? Or march our troops off to wars that have nothing to do with National Defense?

    When, exactly, does the GOPs unconditional respect for life begin, and when does it end?

    January 25, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  20. Pete

    While I personally disagree with abortion, it's going to happen regardless of the law. Obama's position has always been to try to reduce the # of abortions through policy—recognizing that it's going to happen, but trying to reduce and make safer the ones that are inevitably going to happen. Hey Santorum, if life is a right, shouldn't that be a healthy life? Shouldn't healthcare be a right too? The pursuit of happiness is pretty tough when you can't see a doctor when you're sick.

    January 25, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  21. Whammybar

    Mr. Santorum, are you Pro Death? Do you support capitol punishment? Do you support a Federal law on capitol punishment? do you also support gun rights and freedoms? Any hyprocrisy here?
    Also, it is above your paygrade also to choose for the victims of rape, incest, date rape, poor personal choices, lack of education, the list goes on. It is not your call and it certianly is not the governments call. Personal choice must remain for a free society. It's way above your pay grade! I am not supporting abortion here. Abortion is a terrible thing but it is not your call!
    The slavery comparison and going after the Presidents personal choice for his childrens education is really reaching at straws to force your will on us all is'nt it? Very pathetic. Please go away and leave us alone.

    January 25, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  22. Marry

    It is very sad that Mr. Santorum as well as many others on the right edge of thinking are always so concerned with “abortion”. Their outrage would be a lot more believable if they were just as concerned about people after they are born then they are before birth. We seldom hear anything of how they want to support families, young mothers, education, environment, jobs, etc. etc. Ask about that – money and how they can profit is all that comes to their mind. Not even a better health care system to benefit the people is important to them. Never mind when it comes to “weapons” and “war”. Then they are all for “killing” and the individual “rights” to do so. This is simply another sick stance on a topic that has long been decided.

    January 25, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. zb

    Republican thinking: you have a right to be born but not a right to live and only they have the right to kill you with their policies. Republican policies equals death for millions. Make no mistake about it that Republican cuts will kill people – hunger, lack of healthcare and social services, cuts in research, education, safety, and environment are all people killers. It is largely a tax increase on the middle class and poor while they give tax cuts to the rich. Republicans are the real murders and ultimately what they are most interested in is making the world safe for exploitation while killing hope and the America dream for millions of different color, origin, gender, and ways of living or thinking.

    January 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. frag

    Here we go again.......................now that these people have been elected under the slogan," jobs jobs jobs" ; they now want to turn your attention to something else................abortion, flag burning, homosexuality, crime, it doesn't matter. As long as you don't think about "jobs jobs jobs", and why? Because they have no ideas or solutions for our unemployment problems. Dear Mr. Santorum, I am not the sucker you take me for. Do what you were elected for, or step down. Who's not listening to the American people now?

    January 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. mixbee

    When are men like Santorum going to realize that women don't want to be sent back to the days of the coat hanger and knitting needle? If and when he gets pregnant, he is free to bear any child he likes, but until he grows a uterus, he really has no dog in the fight. WOMEN decide – we are NOT going back.

    January 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
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