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Santorum: Doctors Providing Abortions To Rape And Incest Victims Should Be Criminally Charged

By Ian Millhiser  

"Santorum: Doctors Providing Abortions To Rape And Incest Victims Should Be Criminally Charged"

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Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, former Senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum offered two stunningly maximalist positions on abortion — abortion should be flatly banned even in cases of rape or incest, and doctors who perform abortions should face criminal charges:

QUESTION: Do you believe that there should be any legal exceptions for rape or incest when it comes to abortion?

SANTORUM: I believe that life begins at conception, and that that life should be guaranteed under the Constitution. That is a person.

QUESTION: So even in the case of rape or incest, that would be taking a life?

SANTORUM: That would be taking a life, and I believe that any doctor that performs an abortion, I would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.

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It’s worth noting that Santorum’s statement that “life begins at conception” also indicates that he would make it a crime to provide many forms of birth control to victims of rape or incest. During a debate with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who defeated Santorum in 2006, Santorum took the position that the morning after pill is the exact same thing as abortion if it is taken after “the egg has been fertilized.”

Moreover, Santorum’s position that the Constitution compels laws protecting fetuses places him at odds with the Supreme Court’s most conservative members. In DeShanney v. Winnebago County, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s guarantee that no person shall be denied “life . . . without due process of law” does not actually require the government to criminalize anything — a decision that runs directly counter to Santorum’s position on abortion. Justice Antonin Scalia, who has gone so far as to say that the Constitution does not prevent gender discrimination, was in the majority in DeShanney.

Nevertheless, this kind of over-the-top social conservatism is exactly the kind of thing Americans have come to expect from Rick Santorum. Santorum has previously called laws protecting the health of a pregnant woman “phony,” and he is best known for spouting a frothy mixture of anti-gay rhetoric comparing same-sex couples with people who have sex with dogs.

‹ Herman Cain Breaks With NRA On The Second Amendment

Justiceline: June 13, 2011 ›

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