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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Santorum and the abortion controversy

Although he probably won't be able to overtake Romney, Rick Santorum is making headlines again by pushing the gay marriage button. He did this in front of ninth graders. I don't have kids, but if I did, I'm not sure I would want a political candidate to come to my child's school and encourage a discussion of gay sex. Guess that makes me a fuddy-duddy.

Speaking at a college, Santorum conjured up the image of a marriage involving five people. I'm trying to imagine what the bedroom must look like: Do they push together two king-sized beds? Who sleeps in the middle? Thank you, Rick Santorum, for giving us that visual.

Quite a few denizens of blogland have been debating the question: Did Rick Santorum's wife Karen abort a doomed child to save the life of the mother? I am persuaded by this view, offered by Blue Lyon, a sometime friend to this blog, and no admirer of Santorum's politics. She argues that one cannot apply the term "abortion" to what happened on that occasion.

Bostonboomer, at Skydancing, offers a somewhat different take. I guess the controversy all comes down to the Pitocin injection. Does the administration of this drug to speed labor constitute "abortion" in any meaningful sense of the term? I don't believe so.
I think part of the squeamishness that I feel -- and I’m probably not alone -- is that the Santorums chose to share their experience with the public.
The squeamishness is understandable. Call me old school, but I prefer to keep certain very personal matters outside the realm of public discussion. The only decision made by Karen Santorum which I would -- very tentatively -- call into question was her decision to write a book about her sad experience.
Comments:
The age of the fetus isn't the point. If you imagine the life of the baby after it will be born, planning for it and including it in your thoughts, naming it and buying things for it, the loss will be greater. Some cultures with high infant mortality don't name a child until its first or second birthday, a way of maintaining psychological distance to lessen grief if the child dies. To the extent that you have become attached to an unborn child, you will need to engage in activities to help grieving after the loss. These people did a lot to help themselves grieve which, to me, suggests they may have done a great deal to anticipate the birth before the loss. These are people who invest a lot emotionally in both ways. I don't see the point in blaming them or calling them weird for doing this. I think the phrase is "whatever gets you through the night" and it refers to coping with pain. That some people magnify their pain is irrelevant. People have the right to do this, whether it is an individual choice or a cultural one. This focus by the left on Santorum's loss is ugly, in my opinion, and has nothing to do with any real election issue, including his views on abortion. If you don't know any woman who has lost a child, you are very fortunate, but the real pain experienced, even at the loss via miscarriage early in a pregnancy, is the loss of hope, not tissue, and trivializing that hope by calling it a fetus instead of a baby changes nothing at all.
 
Anon, if I understand your words correctly, I think you are talking about the Santorum's decision to bring home the body of their miscarried child. Please understand that my post did not address that decision one way or the other.

All I have to say about it is this: That decision qualifies as private. We outsiders should not be debating it. We should not even know about it. I would criticize the Santorums only insofar as they made an extremely personal decision a matter of public discussion.
 
If she did receive a pitocin drip, it WAS abortion, as labor would not have commenced otherwise.
And, I'm sorry, taking the dead fetus home, WAS weird. This is not a third-world culture.
I wouldn't elect these people dog-catcher.
 
The manner of dealing with the death of their child is private, I agree.

However, the stance Santorum has taken on how other women deal with their pregnancy is a major election issue. He would not allow a woman to choose abortion for any reason, and has even gone so far as to suggest that contraception should be illegal.

This utterly disqualifies him to serve in any elective office, IMHO.
 
I am glad that Ms. Santorum had the opportunity to choose treatment for her infection, even though that treatment resulted in the loss of her baby. My issue is that candidate Rick Santorum's stance on abortion could possibly remove that option for other families facing the same situation.

I have never lost a child, so I can't even imagine that kind of grief. Again, the issue is one of choice--the Santorums chose the method they believed was correct for their family and I will not second-guess that decision.

stxabuela
 
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