Rick Santorum on Abortion

Republican Jr Senator (PA); 2012 presidential frontrunner


I've been to the March For Life for 25 years

Q: Carly Fiorina was the only GOP candidate to attend the March for Life in Washington. Where were you?

SANTORUM: I've been to the March for Life for 25 years. I have shepherded every piece of pro-life piece of legislation that's passed over the last 20 years. Twice we were counseled to have an abortion. Neither time did we think about it because we know that life begins at conception.

FIORINA: It is outrageous that Fox News would question the pro-life credentials of Rick Santorum.

Source: 2016 Fox News Republican Undercard debate in Iowa , Jan 28, 2016

Roe v. Wade was a rogue decision, not settled law

Q: It's been 42 years since Roe v. Wade; is that now settled law?

SANTORUM: It is not any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first inaugural address, said "it won't stand." And they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court. This is a rogue Supreme Court decision. There is no constitutional basis for the Supreme Court's decision. One of the times the Supreme Court spoke that I thought they were acting outside of their authority was in a partial-birth abortion case. Abortions being done where the baby's being delivered first, and then they crush the skull. Well, the Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional. What did I do? I didn't stop. I didn't say "oh, well, we lost. It's the law of the land." We worked together. The House and Senate, under my leadership, and we passed a bill, and we said, "Supreme Court, you're wrong." Sometimes it just takes someone to lead and stand up to the court.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Pushed legislation to protect the unborn

Rick Santorum wrote and championed legislation that outlawed the heinous procedure known as Partial Birth Abortion as well as the "Born Alive Infants Protection Act," the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act," and the "Combating Autism Act" because he believes each and every individual has value and the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website RickSantorum.com, "About" , May 27, 2015

In partial birth abortion, doctor kills baby after delivery

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act sought to ban an abortion procedure performed on babies that were at least 20 weeks old. I was appalled to learn it was legal for a 20-week-old fetus to be deliberately delivered alive in a breech position, then killed by the doctor as he or she held the baby and thrust pointed scissors into the base of the baby's skull. I was shocked even more by watching senators defend this horrific procedure.

[In 1997 on the Senate floor], I managed the override of President Clinton's veto. I was struck by the defense mounted by the pro-abortion senators. They were using examples of children with disabilities (some with problems that are treatable) to justify their opposition, suggesting that the government should not stand in the way of parents who want to kill their children once they find out their babies aren't perfect.

Source: Bella's Gift, by Rick and Karen Santorum, p. 47-9 , Feb 10, 2015

Gingrich's abortion stances compared to Santorum's

OnTheIssues' paperback book explores how Rick Santorum's abortion stances differ from Newt Gingrich's, and where they are similar, alongside numerous other social issues. We cite details from Sen. Santorum's books and speeches, and Newt's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Rick Santorum vs. Newt Gingrich on Social Issues

Source: Paperback: Santorum vs. Gingrich On The Issues , Jan 8, 2012

States have the right to ban contraception, but shouldn't

Q: [to Romney] Sen. Santorum has been very clear in his belief that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution. And following from that, he believes that states have the right to ban contraception. Now I should add that he said he's not recommending that states do that.

SANTORUM: No, let's be clear. We're talking about the 10th Amendment and the right of states to act.

Q: Gov. Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

ROMNEY: I can't imagine a state banning contraception. I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception.

SANTORUM: The Supreme Court created through a penumbra of rights a new right to privacy that was not in the Constitution. It created a right through boot-strapping, through creating something that wasn't there. I believe it should be overturned.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

No abortions even in cases of rape; one violence is enough

Q: In June, you said, "I believe that any doctor who performs an abortion should be criminally charged for doing so." You would allow no exceptions for cases of rape and incest?

SANTORUM: You know, the US Supreme Court on a recent case said that a man who committed rape could not be killed, could not be subject to the death penalty, yet the child conceived as a result of that rape could be. That to me sounds like a country that doesn't have its morals correct. That child did nothing wrong. That child is an innocent victim. To be victimized twice would be a horrible thing. It is an innocent human life. It is genetically human from the moment of conception. And it is a human life. And we in America should be big enough to try to surround ourselves and help women in those terrible situations who've been traumatized already. To put them through another trauma of an abortion I think is too much to ask. And so I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

I've not only taken the pledge; I've taken the bullets

Q: [to Santorum]: You are staunchly pro-life. Gov. Romney used to support abortion rights until he changed his position on this a few years ago. Should this be an issue in this primary campaign?

SANTORUM: I think an issue should be looking at the authenticity of that candidate and looking at their record over time and what they fought for. You can look at my record. Not only have I been consistently pro-life. I've not just taken the pledge, I've taken the bullets to go out there and fight for thi and lead on those issues. And I think that's a factor that people should consider. A lot of folks run for president as pro-life and then that issue gets shoved to the back burner. The issue of pro-life, the sanctity and dignity of every human life, not just on the issue of abortion, but with respect to the entire life, and the dignity of people at the end of life, those issues will be top priority issues for me to make sure that all life is respected and held with dignity.

ROMNEY: I'm firmly pro-life

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

FactCheck: Under 1/4 of pregnancies end in abortion, not 1/3

Santorum wrongly claimed that "one in three pregnancies end in abortion" in the US when saying that abortion was to blame for funding problems for Social Security and Medicare. Santorum said: "The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don't have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion."

First, fewer than one in four pregnancies ended in abortion in 2008, the most recent statistics available. Second, Santorum assumes the population is lower by a number equal to total abortions, but that's not the case. One analyst told us "most women obtain abortions to postpone childbearing not to prevent it altogether" and an unknown number of pregnancies would have ended in miscarriage.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 GOP primary debate in South Carolina , May 6, 2011

FactCheck: No, female suicide & crime not worse under Roe

Abortion is a popular topic for Santorum, who also was off in 2005 when he claimed in a book that female suicides and crime were "much worse" after Roe v. Wade. Suicides by women actually went down by a third since the Supreme Court decision made abortion legal. Female suicides dropped from 6.5 per 100,000 women in 1973 to 4.1 in 2001, the most recent stats at the time, according to the CDC. As for crime, the Department of Justice's annual survey showed a drop in both property and violent crime since 1973. (For the record, the female suicide rate is still lower than 1973's--4.8 as of 2007. And property and violent crime have continued to drop.)
Source: FactCheck.org on "It Takes a Family" by Rick Santorum , Feb 15, 2011

Plan B morning-after pill is abortion, and dangerous

Q: The FDA has said that Plan B, the morning-after pill, can be sold over the counter. Are you in favor?

SANTORUM: No, Iím not. I agree that it is an abortifacient, and that itís dangerous to give a dose of hormones equivalent to one third of a whole series of birth control pills to someone without any kind of doctor supervision.

CASEY: Yes, Iím in favor. I think what emergency contraception is contraception.

Q: But you do believe life begins at conception?

CASEY: I do.

Q: If this was fertilized, would you call it abortion?

CASEY: The science is clear on this. It is contraception, and I support it. I think weíve got to make it widely available, and I think thatís one of the ways we reach common ground on the very tough issue of abortion: emergency contraception can reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies. Thatís what we should emphasize.

SANTORUM: The science is clear. In fact, it is an abortifacient in certain circumstances.

Source: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator (X-ref Casey) , Sep 3, 2006

Exception for rape & incest ok, even though they take a life

Q: Are you in favor of Plan B, the morning-after pill?

CASEY: Iím in favor. I think what emergency contraception is contraception, not abortion.

SANTORUM: It is an abortifacient in certain circumstances. If the egg has been fertilized and the pill is taken, it does cause an abortion. Itís inconsistent with his previous position and violated his principles.

Q: If you believe that life begins at conception, then why do you support exceptions for rape, incest, and life of mother?

SANTORUM: Yeah, I would vote for things like that.

Q: But itís the taking of a life.

SANTORUM: The Hyde Amendment allows rape, incest, life of the mother. That is the common ground we could get, and I would support that.

Q: But by your standards, itís the taking of a life.

SANTORUM: It is, thereís no question itís the taking of a life. But it is an attempt for me to try to see if we can find common ground to actually make progress in limiting the other abortions. So yes, thatís what I would do.

Source: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator , Sep 3, 2006

Partial birth abortion is not used only for abnormalities

In 2003, Sen. Hillary Clinton [commented] about the anatomically correct drawings I used to demonstrate the partial birth abortion procedure:

CLINTON: The visual aids show a perfectly formed fetus, and that is misleading. We should have a chart that demonstrates tragic abnormalities.

SANTORUM: Do we consider a child that may not live long, or may have an abnormality, to be less of a child? Don't those who are not perfect don't even deserve the opportunity to live?

CLINTON: Does the Senator's legislation make exceptions for serious life-threatening abnormalities?

SANTORUM: No, if--

CLINTON: That is the point.

SANTORUM: If you want to create a separation in the law between those children who are perfect and those children who are not--

SANTORUM: If a child is not perfect, that child can be aborted under any circumstances. But if that child is perfect, we are going to protect that child more. The Americans with Disabilities Act says we treat all of God's children the sam

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.258-261 , Apr 30, 2006

Scientifically, an embryo is human from moment of conception

I was very much like most Americans and most nominal Catholics before I decided to enter public life. I didn't like the idea of abortion--I knew it was wrong, but I wasn't sure if it was the government's business to do anything about it. When I decided to run for public office in 1989, I was told that I had to "make up my mind on abortion."

Through both scientific reasoning and moral reasoning the answer was clear to me. Abortion was the taking of an innocent human life. Scientifically, the embryo is human from the moment of conception (it has a complete, unique human genetic code) and it is alive: therefore, it is literally a human life.

I looked at it one other way. Did I see the child in the womb as a person entitled to protection under the law, or as a property owned by the mother, with no rights until the moment she was physically separated from her mother? No, I couldn't see myself on the "mere property" side of this argument.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.239-240 , Apr 30, 2006

93% of abortions are post-conception birth control

When you hear an abortion supporter argue his or her position, nowhere do you hear that a baby's heart can be seen beating at three weeks. They appear to exhibit a whole range of typical baby behavior and moods.

Almost never do I hear about what is being chosen, other than the sterile words "terminating pregnancy." Nowhere do you hear that over 93% of abortions are performed on healthy mothers with healthy babies who were not the victim of rape or incest, which means that in the vast majority of cases abortion is actually post-conception birth control.

The advocates of abortion, like Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, teach that if you have to say anything about what is in the womb you should use dehumanizing terms like "product of conception," "embryo," & "fetal tissue." Or, if you must, fetus. Thanks to a lot of help from their allies in the news and entertainment media, they have turned the child in the womb into a NOBODY, and therefore "NOBODY gets hurt."

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.253 , Apr 30, 2006

Partial birth abortion allows killing baby if only toe is in

On Oct. 20, 1999, I had a colloquy with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D, CA) about where to draw the line on partial birth abortion:

SANTORUM: If the baby's foot was inside the mother but the rest of the baby was outside, could that baby be killed?

BOXER: The baby is born when the baby is born. That is the answer to the question.

SANTORUM: I am asking for you to define for me what that is: the baby is being born.

BOXER: In the process of being born, to me it is obvious when a baby is born; to you it isn't obvious.

SANTORUM: Maybe you can make it obvious to me. What you are suggesting is if the baby's toe is still inside of the mother that baby can then still be killed?

BOXER: Absolutely not.

SANTORUM: OK. So if the baby's toe is in, you can't kill the baby. How about if the baby's foot is in? We are trying to draw a line here.

BOXER: I am not answering these questions.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.255-257 , Apr 30, 2006

There is no federal right to privacy

Q: Your view on the right to privacy?

A: The undermining of the fabric of our society all comes from this right to privacy that doesn't exist in the US Constitution. This right was created in Griswold--the contraceptive case--and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. Whether it's polygamy or sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a stable, traditional family. The idea of the "right to privacy" is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' passions. I disagree with that. There are consequences to letting people live out whatever passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

Q: Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy?

A: The right to privacy was created in a law about individual passions. And I don't agree with that. So I would put it back to the democratic process. If NY doesn't want sodomy laws, if NY wants abortion, fine. I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in.

Source: Associated Press in USA Today: Santorum Interview , Apr 23, 2003

Responsible stem cell research doesn't destroy embryos

I support the Responsible Stem Cell Research Act of 2001, legislation aimed at committing our Nation to a bold investment in promising, ethical medical research with which we all can live. I fervently believe that fertilization produces a new member of the human species. To use a human being, even a newly conceived one, as a commodity is never morally acceptable. Unfortunately, the opportunities for developing successful therapies from stem cells that do not require the destruction of human embryos have been given relative short shrift. But adult and other post-natal stem cells have been successfully extracted from umbilical cord blood placentas and other organs. In order to build upon the successes of this promising research, the Responsible Stem Cell Research Act would authorize $275 million for this ethical stem cell research which is actually proven to help hundreds of thousands of patient. This represents a 50% increase in current NIH funding being devoted to this stem cell research.
Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.141-142 , Aug 3, 2001

Protect any child born alive from botched abortion

My amendment is simple. My amendment says any child born alive is entitled to protection under the laws. Unfortunately, this amendment is necessary for two reasons:
  1. The treatment of children who are delivered as a result of an abortion that was botched. We have ample testimony to, unfortunately, show that children born alive as a result of induced abortions are discarded, [instead of being] cared for as appropriate to their gestational age. The laws of the land should apply to even children who are born alive as a result of abortion.
  2. Two Supreme Court Justices in the most recent abortion decision, the Nebraska decision, stated that any procedure that the doctor would permit is OK, [if] the doctor believes it is in the best health interests o the mother. That, to me, leaves open the possibility, if the doctor decides in the health interest of a mother that the best thing is to deliver the baby alive and then kill the baby. So I think it is important for us to draw a line at least here.
Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.137-138 , Jun 29, 2001

Partial birth abortion should shock your conscience

[Partial birth abortion] is not about pro-life or pro-choice. This is about a horrific procedure that should shock the conscience of anyone who has heard how this procedure is done. There is some sort of moral code in this country. To see a baby 3/4 born have scissors stuck in the back of their brain--where have we come as a country when we say, "Well, we need a statute to prohibit that,"--this is wrong. I do not even think we should be having debate about it.

There is an obvious truth here. You have a baby, not what they like to refer to as, "an intact dilation and extraction." That is the way they describe this. An intact procedure. This intact thing is a baby, and it is 3/4 of the way delivered through the birth canal. It is not terminated, it is killed. Whether you are for abortions or against abortions, you cannot be for doing this. It shocks the conscience of a society and should not--should not--be a procedure that is sanctioned.

Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.145-146 , Dec 7, 1995

Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.

This bill prohibits taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. Makes an exception for an abortion necessary to save the life of the minor. Authorizes any parent to sue unless such parent committed an act of incest with the minor. Imposes a fine and/or prison term of up to one year on a physician who performs an abortion on an out-of-state minor in violation of parental notification requirements in their home state.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This bill deals with how young girls are being secretly taken across State lines for the purpose of abortion, without the consent of their parents or even the knowledge of their parents, in violation of the laws of the State in which they live. 45 states have enacted some sort of parental consent laws or parental notification law. By simply secreting a child across State lines, one can frustrate the State legislature's rules. It is subverting and defeating valid, constitutionally approved rights parents have.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Some States have parental consent laws, some don't. In my particular State, it has been voted down because my people feel that if you ask them, "Do they want their kids to come to their parents?", absolutely. But if you ask them, "Should you force them to do so, even in circumstances where there could be trouble that comes from that?", they say no.

This bill emanates from a desire that our children come to us when we have family matters, when our children are in trouble, that they not be fearful, that they not be afraid that they disappoint us, that they be open with us and loving toward us, and we toward them. This is what we want to have happen. The question is: Can Big Brother Federal Government force this on our families? That is where we will differ.

Reference: Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act; Bill S.403 ; vote number 2006-216 on Jul 25, 2006

Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives.

Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget that allocates $100 million for the prevention of unintended pregnancies. A YES vote would expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care. A YES vote would:
Reference: Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services; Bill S.Amdt. 244 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-75 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime.

Bill would make it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. The measure would set criminal penalties, the same as those that would apply if harm or death happened to the pregnant woman, for those who harm a fetus. It is not required that the individual have prior knowledge of the pregnancy or intent to harm the fetus. This bill prohibits the death penalty from being imposed for such an offense. The bill states that its provisions should not be interpreted to apply a woman's actions with respect to her pregnancy.
Reference: Unborn Victims of Violence Act; Bill S.1019/HR.1997 ; vote number 2004-63 on Mar 25, 2004

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life.

S. 3 As Amended; Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Vote to pass a bill banning a medical procedure, which is commonly known as "partial-birth" abortion. Those who performed this procedure would then face fines and up to two years in prison, the women to whom this procedure is performed on are not held criminally liable. This bill would make the exception for cases in which a women's life is in danger, not for cases where a women's health is in danger.
Reference: Bill S.3 ; vote number 2003-51 on Mar 12, 2003

Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.

Vote on a motion to table [kill] an amendment that would repeal the ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities.
Reference: Bill S 2549 ; vote number 2000-134 on Jun 20, 2000

Voted YES on banning human cloning.

This cloture motion was in order to end debate and move to consideration of legislation banning human cloning. [A YES vote opposes human cloning].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)42; N)54; NV)4
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on motion to proceed to S. 1601; Bill S. 1601 ; vote number 1998-10 on Feb 11, 1998

Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record.

Santorum scores 0% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record

For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women's health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: NARAL website 03n-NARAL on Dec 31, 2003

Supports the Pro-life Presidential Leadership Pledge.

Santorum signed the Pro-life Presidential Leadership Pledge

The Susan B. Anthony List's 2012 Pro-life Presidential Leadership Pledge asks declared presidential candidates to commit to key pro-life goals if elected to the presidency in 2012. While this is by no means a complete list of all pro-life objectives, having a President that actively supports these pro-life aims will keep up the momentum to achieve our ultimate goal of ending abortion in this country. The Pro-life pledge:

Source: Pro-life Presidential Leadership Pledge 12-SBA on Jan 1, 2012

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