Different Rules for Different People

By Jeffrey Page
Job description for a hypocrite: Tell people how to run their lives, and cover your tracks well so you don’t have to mention the events of your own life that could prove you’re not as sincere as people might believe. In fact, they might see you as a fraud and you don’t want that.

So here’s Rick Santorum this week coming off a surprisingly strong day in the campaign for the Republican nomination. It’s Rick Santorum who has long been a leader in the anti-choice cause. It’s Rick Santorum who would ban abortions in all cases. Your daughter was raped after the prom and got pregnant? Hey, buck up. She was attacked by her slobbering, half-witted uncle and got pregnant? Hey, it wasn’t the baby’s fault, was it?

As for allowing abortions to save the life of the mother, Santorum recently said: “When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members [of the Senate] came forward and said, ‘Why don’t we just ban all abortions?’ Tom Daschle was one of them, if you remember. And Susan Collins, and others. They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective.”

But 15 years ago, Santorum was ready to elect this phony exception to save his wife’s life. Remember those words – “a phony exception” – as you read the rest of this article.

Note 1: This is not based on new reporting. This is a story that’s been around since 1997 but bears repeating when a presidential candidate dismisses a woman’s health and life as phony exceptions.

Note 2: Ordinarily, a candidate’s private life ought to be respected, assuming it contains no felonies. But when hypocrisy rises to such epic levels as Santorum’s, it demands public discussion.

It is 1997, and Senator Rick Santorum is being interviewed by Steve Goldstein of the Philadelphia Inquirer. They’re talking about the pregnancy of Santorum’s wife Karen in 1996, a time when Santorum’s position was to abort no pregnancies except those that resulted from rape, incest or to save the woman’s life. Nowadays, there are no exceptions as far as Santorum is concerned.

Goldstein reported that in her 19th week of pregnancy, Mrs. Santorum was informed that her fetus was fatally defective and would die. The Santorums elected to try long-shot corrective uterine surgery, during which she came down with severe infection that would kill her unless she aborted the pregnancy because the fetus was the source of the infection. At times, Goldstein reported, Mrs. Santorum’s temperature reached 105.

How to remove the fetus? By inducing labor, essentially aborting it. “Ultimately they did not have to make a decision; nature made it for them. Karen went into premature labor from an infection, delivering a boy who had a fatal abnormality. The child died two hours later,” Goldstein reported.

But what would have happened had the fetus not died?

“If that had to be the call, we would have induced labor if we had to,” Santorum said. “I consider it a blessing that we didn’t have to make that decision.”

“The doctors said they were talking about a matter of hours or a day or two before [Mrs. Santorum would be] risking sepsis and both of them might die,” Santorum said. “Obviously, if it was a choice of whether both Karen and the child are going to die, or just the child is going to die, I mean it’s a pretty easy call.”

Do you smell a phony exception?

Mrs. Santorum told Goldstein: “If the physician came to me and said if we don’t deliver your baby in one hour you will be dead, yeah, I would have to do it. But for me, it was at the very end. I would never make a decision like that until all other means had been thoroughly exhausted.” But she’d make it if she had to.

That was then. Nowadays Santorum opposes every abortion no matter who the father is, no matter how the pregnancy occurred, no matter what degree of damage that pregnancy would cause the mother.



Leave a Reply