Health

Santorum Calls Abortion Exceptions To Protect Health Of The Mother ‘Phony’

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CREDIT:

ThinkProgress filed this report from West Des Moines, Iowa.

Longshot GOP presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stomped for votes in Iowa on Tuesday, trumpeting his “culture wars” message. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Santorum is selling himself as the leading social conservative in a crowded field. Yesterday in West Des Moines, he made an appearance at a “crisis pregnancy center” called Informed Choices that tries to talk women out of having abortions. Santorum said that he “separates [himself] from the rest of the pack” and criticized the other candidates for simply “checking the box” on anti-abortion issues.

When discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony”:

SANTORUM: When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members 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.

Watch it:

Santorum’s complete lack of empathy for women who find themselves with life-threatening pregnancies is repugnant, but not altogether surprising. When the Senate took up the ban in the ’90s, the debate was focused not on banning an abortion method, but rather on what exceptions would be allowed under the new law. Senators led by Santorum “refused to allow an exception even to protect the woman from serious harm to her health,” while President Clinton refused to sign the bill without one.

Although there are any number of serious medical emergencies that might require a woman to terminate a pregnancy in her third trimester to protect her own health, Santorum and his allies “said that ‘health’ is nothing but a loophole for women who would abort a pregnancy to fit into a prom dress.” Back then,┬áSantorum decried “the selfishness, the individual self-centeredness” of legislators who were concerned about the health of pregnant women. Judging by his latest remarks, he’s still holding a grudge.