Santorum Voted to Subsidize Abortion, Planned Parenthood

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GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is under fire in South Carolina for touting his alleged pro-life beliefs but voting to subsidize abortion and Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in America, while serving in the U.S. Senate. He has also backed pro-abortion candidates and voted for legislation that is being used to federally prosecute peaceful pro-life protesters who demonstrate outside of abortion clinics. Critics are outraged.

The once top-tier Republican candidate, who surged into the spotlight after an unexpected strong finish in Iowa before a disastrous showing in New Hampshire, defended himself against the attacks by lashing out at fellow GOP contender Rep. Ron Paul. He also argued that he voted for the unconstitutional appropriations — used for terminating pregnancies, lobbying against pro-life legislation, handing out birth control, and litigating to keep abortion legal — because they were part of bigger spending bills he supported.

A group called Iowans for Life first went after Santorum on the issue before the caucuses there, distributing fliers calling the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania a “Pro-Life Fraud.” The leaflets highlighted, among other points, the fact that Santorum had “a long and storied history of campaigning for radical pro-abortion candidates” such as former Sen. Arlen Specter — a Republican who later turned Democrat.

On January 13, Santorum’s record on abortion came back to haunt him again when he was confronted about voting to subsidize abortion and its apologists during a small town-hall meeting in South Carolina. He promptly attacked the questioner, accusing him of being a “Ron Paul supporter.” Then he plowed into a diatribe against the pro-life Texas Congressman, who finished a strong second in New Hampshire last week and is widely seen as a front-runner in the Republican race.

“This is a very interesting thing,” Santorum said, puzzled, apparently looking for the right words to answer a question he had not been expecting. “There is nobody that’s been a stronger pro-life leader in the United States Congress than I was.” He also alleged — inaccurately — that Ron Paul, who has never voted to fund Planned Parenthood, did not have a solid record of defending life while in office.

Santorum continued his anti-Paul rant, accusing the 12-term Congressman of not voting for federal spending even while inserting earmarks into legislation in an effort to return money to his constituents from the federal government. But despite Santorum’s bumbling efforts to attack Ron Paul, analysts say the Texas veteran — who delivered over 4,000 babies during his career as a doctor — actually proposed the most effective way to constitutionally overturn Roe v. Wade.

Indeed, Paul introduced a bill known as the We The People Act to remove the Supreme Court’s purported jurisdiction over abortion and other issues. He sponsored the legislation in every legislative session since at least 2004, though Santorum never got on board.

Santorum then continued to defend his vote by claiming that the funding was used for birth control. However, because money is fungible, few serious analysts accept the implied argument that tax funds for Planned Parenthood are not used to subsidize abortion. They undoubtedly are.

“The program that he’s talking about is a program called Title X, and it’s a program that is in appropriation bills that funds — allows for funding of, uh, uh, uh — of birth control,” Santorum claimed when he eventually addressed the original question, carefully avoiding any mention of Planned Parenthood’s far more lucrative abortion business or its pro-abortion lobbying. “I am not for federal funding of that, but it’s in a big bill that provides a lot of things. Did I vote for that overall bill? Yes, I did.” He then resumed his attacks on Paul for not supporting enough federal spending.

The legislation in question was also used to fund several other federal departments not authorized by the Constitution including Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. But for many pro-life activists, voting for any bill that sends even a dime of tax money to an organization known to commit over 329,000 abortions every year is deal breaker — let alone voting to appropriate almost half of a billion dollars for the abortionist cause. 

One pro-life commentator in South Carolina, Brian Frank, wrote in the S.C. Hotline that Santorum’s vote to fund Planned Parenthood actually “makes him a partner in crime of the ungodly murder of the innocent unborn.” Frank assailed the GOP hopeful for other faults, too. “’Mr. Pro-life’ voted to have innocent Americans placed into the PP vegi-matic laboratories and enthusiastically campaigned for pro-abortion Arlen Specter against the more conservative Pat Toomey,” the critic noted. He also said Santorum was mistaken if he believed his votes to fund Planned Parenthood could be hidden from Christians and pro-life activists.

Santorum also voted for the Democrat-sponsored “Freedom of Access to [Abortion] Clinic Entrances Act,” legislation purportedly making it a federal crime to “interfere” with a person seeking to terminate a pregnancy. As critics warned at the time, the bill has been used with increasing frequency to prosecute peaceful protesters. The former Senator vigorously campaigned for several rabidly pro-abortion candidates, too — even against their pro-life opponents.

Beyond abortion, Santorum’s voting record in the Senate also includes other evidence that the GOP hopeful is not quite as “conservative” as he would like voters to believe. For example, he supported unconstitutional gun control, the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, raising the debt ceiling, invading Iraq without a declaration of war, and expanding the unconstitutional Department of Education. He also backed indefinite detentions, torture, removing habeas corpus, and other legislation repugnant to American traditions and the Constitution. But it has not gone unnoticed by his opponents.

As the GOP race heats up, in addition to his votes for Planned Parenthood and the law used to prosecute pro-life protesters, critics are also taking aim at Santorum’s consistent support for big government. Comments by the former Senator advocating a “long war” to “eradicate” many of the world’s more than one billion Muslims have been the focus of some criticism, too. And his vow to unilaterally and unconstitutionally attack Iran when elected if its government refuses to obey him has some analysts very nervous as well.

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