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. Rush L

    Also, if the GOP and the hard-right want to give the Government control over our bodies, and the right to control whether or not somebody CAN have an abortion, they will also control the decision as to whether or not they MUST have an abortion or be euthanized.

    Once you've given away your right to the Government, you've given it away forever, and they may make choices in the future we wouldn't make today. Look at China and the one child rule. Think that couldn’t happen here? Do you really think the government won’t start telling people they MUST have an abortion to control the population?
    I don’t know why conservatives are so eager to take away the people’s power.

    January 25, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Frozone

    It's too bad Republicans don't view life as a civil right once you exit the womb.

    January 25, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  3. Anonymous

    The pig is coming out of Rick. Dysfunctional is a mild word. The bitterness displayed by this half man half lower class of animal is astonishing . What and hwere is civility in his arena. I would never sit at a dining table with him.

    January 25, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. once upon a horse

    I wonder if President Obama were white if Santorum would have pointed that out? I think bringing up his race in this issue is just flat out wrong.

    January 25, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. informed voter

    Privacy is also a right! A woman has the right to decide how her body is treated. And it is between her and her God, to decide what is right for her body and life. I know many women who have agonized over the decision to carry a pregnancy to term. Sometimes because the fetus was not viable, sometimes because the woman was unable to support a child, sometimes because the woman was raped or abused. Whatever her reasons may be, it is not for the government to decide how she handles her body.

    January 25, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. JoY

    This man is a PIG. Lacks sophistication and style. The half man half lower class of animal is jealous of Obama that is why he shows such bitterness and poor behavior.

    January 25, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. Crazy Harry

    If life is a civil right, then how about providing health care so the living people can live?

    Hypocritus Maximus

    January 25, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Jersey Bob

    So much for keeping the government out of our lives......

    January 25, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Eric in Manhattan

    If this man wasn't such a disgusting bigot and loser, his comments might be taken more seriously. However, just one look at his angry expressions makes you think that there is something not quite right about him. He is so filled with hate and a desire to "be somebody" that he will spout any inane comments just to get attention. Go back to your cave!

    January 25, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Dave

    Gee Rick, you really are grasping at straws. PA couldn't stand you and now you want to be president. Criticizing a father and mother's choice for the education of the children? Really, Rick, you can do better than this. What school did your children go to? Did they go to public school? Or where they "home schooled" like the rest of the good christian children of America least they be tainted by the sinners of the world.

    This is the same guy who wanted to abolish the National Weather Service when he was a senator because a for profit weather service was giving big bucks to his senate campaigns. He had everyone from pilots to private citizens up in arms about that one. Guess what? He didn't care. Fortunately, his fellow senators thought he was a darn fool and voted the idea down.

    Rick, you weren't any good as a senator (PA COULDN'T STAND YOU) and you sure can't be president. Stop wasting the public's time.

    January 25, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Shari from Madison

    This guy won't be happy until all women are barefoot and pregnant and living in the kitchen. He wants to destroy anyone who isn't exactly like him. He has no class. He would like to stomp out those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. This guy is a whited sepuchlars, all white on the outside but full of dead men's bones and all corruption.

    January 25, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. Enough is Enough

    Rick just remember there are a lot of us prochoice republicians. The people voted the dems out not your social agenda in.

    January 25, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. sparky

    close your yapper, you were FIRED.....nobody cares about your opinion

    January 25, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Cuso

    If life is a civil right then would health care also be a civil right? You can't really maintain a life without health care.

    January 25, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. Doug R

    Last time I checked, Rick Santorum also strongly supported the death penalty. When you reconcile that with your "Life is a civil right" comment, Rick, I'd sure like to hear how that shakes out.

    January 25, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Geoz

    If he wants to fight to eliminate the death penalty, then the conversation can begin.

    January 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Bart in Omaha

    If what he said about Obama was so obvious, why does he have to further explain his comments? he is a one-trick pony. Although I admire his conviction, he seems to be a one-dimensional candidate based on dividing the electorate on the issue of abortion. Yuck.

    January 25, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. larry

    Santorum is a joke.....he will get a better job on Fox for those statements

    January 25, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Dear Sir:

    What about the children those are alive today? What have you done for them? Every time this ultra right nut jobs have the opportunity to really make a difference they have the excuse of fiscal responsibility and drop programs that would actually help those kids.
    The disturbing part is that republican administrations have been the ones that have expend the most and increase the debt, just refer to the data posted by the US budget office, they call 1980 the year of the u turn, when Regan increased the debt from slightly above 30% of GDP to mid 60% of GDP, Bush increased from 6 trillions to ten trillions, and now they pretend to be Fiscal Conservatives..
    Have a good look at it and make your own conclusions.

    January 25, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA

    Life is a civil right, but a group of cells is not, otherwise every woman is a murderer if one of her eggs is wasted during her monthly cycle. And every guy is a mass murderer every time he....takes care of business....you know what I mean....

    after all, in both cases above, that is a "potential" new life....

    January 25, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    If life is a "Civil Right" then what is his stance on the Death Penalty? Did you ever notice, the most strident anti-abortion folks are the same folks who demand the Death Penalty for anything more serious than Jay Walking?
    I tend to agree with President Obama on this one. The decision as to when life begins is well above my paygrade. With the exception of one line in the Book of Jeremiah (not accepted as Canonical to Orthodox Judaism) the Talmudic teachings define life as when God breathes life into someone. That is also when the soul is supposed to enter the body.
    I am personally opposed to abortion, but at the same time I do not believe I have the right to deny someone else that option. It is a matter of conscience with me, not a matter of political dogma. I have voted for Pro and Anti Choice candidates, and will continue to do so, depending on what their other stances are.
    I also believe the Death Penalty must be carefully administered and only sentenced when no other choice should be allowed (unlike the actions of the State of Texas which approaches the People's Republic of China and the Israeli Defense Force in executing people).

    January 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. MPeters

    Rick Santorum does not understand history. Equating abortion to the Civil Rights Movement is a false premise. One: Things that are alive do not universally have a "right to life." If that were the case, then Sarah Palin and her ilk would not be proud of killing deer or wolves with high-powered rifles. They only put sancity on "human life" not life in general. Slavery was founded on the premise that black people were not "persons" but property. Its a false corrolary.

    Additionally, this business about everything have a "right to life" is fine, IF, and this is a big if, it can survive on its own. Hence why viability is currently the marker for when abortion can be restricted. Its a good compromise, mostly because up until that point whatever "life" exists cannot survive on its own. I don't understand why killing a fertilized egg which has no chance of survival is morally wrong. It has the potential to BE life, but it is NOT LIFE NOR IS IT ALIVE.

    January 25, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Steve Oehmen

    I'm pretty sure all these "Pro-Life" people could better be described as "Pro-Birth". They want the child born, okay. But will they lift a finger to enhance or protect its life afterwards? Educate it? Maintain its health? History says not. Once that child is born it's on its own.

    January 25, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. Nick , California

    Typical Republican.. "Get the government out of our lives"... except when I want them to tell you what to do! Its sad to see people like this fighting for the lives of the unborn and destroying and denying the living! They will force you to have your child and then deny the mother assistance or medical care after! The Republicans love to bash the poor, which most of these young mothers are.. making fun of them having to use government assistance when these young women haven't even finished school. The Republicans just want to feel they have the "moral" high ground while then denying help to those who need it because "they are welfare babies" or "less fortunate"! Sure sounds like a typical Republican "CRHISTIAN"! I know Jesus would piss on the less fortunate!!

    January 25, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. ALEX

    Right-to-Lifers want complete government control of every pregnant woman at every step of her pregnancy. Except paying for the pregnancy and birth related services, of course. That would be government-run health care and we can't have that. Santorum panders to the extreme, gay-hating, Christian-only, government- stay- out- of- my- business -while- I- personally- insert- myself- into -everyone- else's brand of politics. Look up the definition of Santorum in the Urban Dictionary.

    January 25, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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