On the campaign trail, Republican Rick Santorum has made attacking the Affordable Care Act a cornerstone of his stump speech. During an event on Friday, the former Pennsylvania senator supported a “death panels” claim that stroke patients over the age of 70 “will not be granted treatment” under President Obama’s health care reform plan. The claim is false, according to Health and Human Services officials, but Santorum said that “[w]hen you become a cost, then the government starts to allocate resources.”
Santorum warned that the United States could follow the way of the Netherlands, where, he (incorrectly) claimed euthaniasia represts “10 percent of all deaths.” He also bemoaned women’s access to safe and legal abortion services:
Look at what’s happened just in our tolerance for abortion. Fifty years ago…60 years ago, people who did abortions were in the shadows, people who were considered really bad doctors. Now, abortion is something to that is just accepted. [...] This is the erosion. And it happens in the medical profession. It happened very fast. And I think Obamacare will lead us down that road.
Watch the video from Right Wing Watch:
Of course, Santorum’s nostalgia for a time before doctors could legally perform abortions was also a time when women regularly died or were seriously injured by illegal procedures. Roughly 50 percent of all maternal deaths in the first half of the 20th century were from illegal abortions, and an estimated 160 to 260 women died each year in the 1950s and 1960s from illegal abortions. But for Santorum, the fact that women no longer face those dangers is a sign of what harm can come from health care reform, right along with fake death panels and false warnings about euthanasia.