Santorum’s wife’s abortion was different, you see.

Senator Rick Santorum, not to be confused with the neologism coined by Dan Savage meaning “a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”, is publicly very much against abortions, especially “partial birth abortions” where the baby is terminated any time after three or four weeks and has to be passed out of the woman’s body via the birth canal. Basically meaning any abortion. The description I’ve given is in no way an exaggeration or a falsehood, and the whole point of the term “partial birth” is to demonize the concept of abortion out of hand, making it seem like you’re giving birth to a viable human baby then stabbing it in the heart before it’s out the door. It’s a dirty tactic, but one in line with Santorum’s namesake neologism, certainly.

Santorum’s views are unapologetically black-and-white. He advocates that any doctor performing an abortion under any circumstances should be criminally charged.

Even for rape. Even for incest. Even for saving the mother’s life. None of them justify abortion in Rick Santorum’s world.

Unless it happens to be Rick Santorum’s wife, and she might have died if not for her 20-week-old fetus being “partial birth” aborted. That’s different. Because, you know, that’s JUSTIFIED. Unlike all those other mothers.

In October, 1996, his wife Karen had a second trimester abortion. They don’t like to describe it that way. In his 2004 interview with Terry Gross, Santorum characterizes the fetus, who must be treated as an autonomous person, as a practically a gunslinging threat, whom the mother must murder in self-defense. Karen has had to justify her decision to save her own life by explaining that if she died her other children would have lost a mother.
[…]
Karen Santorum is the wife of right-wing, anti-abortion Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). In 1996, Senator Santorum led the debate on a bill that attempted to ban late-term abortions, and refused to make an exception even in the case of “grievous bodily injury” to the woman. In Santorum’s article, she expresses her view that carrying a non-viable fetus to term is the only option, and apparently does not think the woman’s health or future fertility should be a consideration.

I hereby call on Rick Santorum to sue the doctor who performed the surgery that saved his wife’s life. While it may not be a criminal act yet, at least you can get damages from the doctor for daring to save your wife’s life at the expense of your wife’s constitutionally endowed infection source. That act was a second-trimester abortion. It was a “partial birth abortion”. It was done only to save your wife’s life. It is done generally only to save other mothers’ lives. It is not a criminal act in any respect. If you do not sue this doctor, you are a hypocrite of the highest order, and deserving of the worst epithets people can Google-bomb you with.

Choosing abortion is not an easy choice to make. Sometimes, it’s the only option. People do not have abortions out of hand, despite what right-wingers and religious nuts would have you believe. Oftentimes, choosing abortion is choosing life — for the mother, who is often also the mother of other children.

Do not legislate that their wombs become pressganged into being baby factories for rapists or a death sentence for the womb’s owner. Trust doctors, and trust women, to make the choice only when necessary. If you don’t like abortion, then simply don’t have one, even if it costs you your life and your children their mother. And if you aren’t a woman or a doctor, shut the fuck up and stay the fuck out of the argument altogether. Especially if the reasons you’re horning in on this conversation — the reasons you believe you have any moral say in the matter whatsoever — have anything to do with a really old book.

Santorum’s wife’s abortion was different, you see.

370 thoughts on “Santorum’s wife’s abortion was different, you see.

  1. 351

    kat, #341: I also get tired of perpetual arguments that abortion is justified because pregnancy is a taxing process.

    I agree that this isn’t the best argument for abortion. The best argument is that abortion is justified because women choose to not be pregnant.

  2. 352

    Dianne

    As far as your claim that pregnancy reduces mortality, the paper you cited does not support that claim at all. I have a suspicion you may have read the abstract only, not the full paper.

    Kat didn’t cite any paper. She just made a claim. I googled what was likely the source of the claim and posted the conclusion, because I can only access the abstract, too.
    And not even the abstract supports the claim in any way.
    I suppose that Kat only read about it on an anti-abortion side and went wild with it, never bothering to check it.

    Thanx for posting a bit more information about it. It#s nice to see that my suspicions were mostly accurate.

  3. 353

    Kat didn’t cite any paper. She just made a claim. I googled what was likely the source of the claim and posted the conclusion, because I can only access the abstract, too.

    Ah. That explains why I couldn’t find her original reference. I thought I was just missing it somewhere. I can see where a naive reading of the paper, especially the abstract alone, might lead one to conclude that abortion led to higher death rates later on, but a closer examination suggests that the cause and effect are the opposite of what Kat was claiming.

  4. kat
    354

    Snowflake,

    I was attempting to do no more than demonstrate that your use of the word “intruder” was incorrect and misleading. It has nothing to do with whether or not the fetus has a right to be there. If a baby climbs inside a woman of its own volition and refuses to leave, then you’ll have an intruder.

    Giliell and Dianne,

    You’re right. I was mistaken about the timeline; the correct data is that babies have been born up to 14 weeks EARLY.

    I must point out that you called the lower mortality rate for pregnant women “lies” immediately before you acknowledge the study that demonstrated such a lowered mortality rate. Whether causation exists or not (and I’m aware that correlation does not and cannot imply causation), the difference in mortality rate IS a fact. I’ve read the Finland paper and I know that it does not in any way show that complications from abortions cause women to die more frequently than from childbirth. I pointed to increased mortality rate, nothing more. I hardly think claiming that I “went wild” is justified.

    I can’t find the original study I was referring to that found that complications from abortion caused more deaths than complications from childbirth. There was one, but since I can’t find it (I originally found it in high school; I’ve since switched computers and lost my old bookmarks), I’ll let that go. I have found a couple of studies of complications resulting from abortion, including increased risk of complications in future pregnancy, here: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/fulltext/1999/12000/induced_abortion_and_subsequent_pregnancy_duration.9.aspx and here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12544786.

    In regard to the egg analogy:

    Yes, I know it’s imperfect. So is every other analogy on the face of the earth. They’re analogies. Jesus. But even so, if it will placate you and/or give you more material for derision as you so obviously enjoy, here’s another one:

    You have a party at your house with some friends. Over the course of the night, a friend of a friend—someone you know of but don’t have a personal relationship with—passes out on your couch and is incapacitated. The next day, you want the person to leave. They’re alive but unconscious and unresponsive to pain. They’re too heavy for you to pick up and carry out the door. (For the sake of the hypothetical situation, let’s say there’s no one you can call to pick them up and move them for you.) The only way you can remove them from your house is to kill them, cut them into pieces, and carry the pieces out your door and onto the street. But you DO know that the person will eventually wake up and be able to leave. So I’m asking YOU: Do you chop the person into pieces to remove them from your house, or do you wait for them to wake up, and WHY?

    Dianne et al.,

    Yes. I know that stance is hypocritical. I personally am pro-legalization of abortion, anti-abortion as a matter of personal choice, pro-sex education, pro-free contraceptive access, anti-war, anti-capital punishment, pro-legalization of gay and single-parent adoption, vegetarian, anti-euthanasia (for animals and humans except for medical reason and with informed desire and consent for humans), pro-universal health care, pro-universal child care, pro-free elementary, secondary, and university education, pro-social welfare and reform, and so on. I’m also sexually active and a volunteer at Harvard in sexual health education programs and peer counseling, currently obtaining a minor degree in studies of women, gender, and sexuality. Please acknowledge that while many individuals who oppose abortion on ethical grounds are hypocrites, there are many others who are not.

    Jason,

    I’ve responded to your comments above. I’m also intrigued by the fact that despite addressing me multiple times in comments here you have not once acknowledged the medical inaccuracies you purport in your article.

  5. 355

    Kat… funny and ridiculous analogy not merely “imperfect” – but good try. This ‘sleeping person’ doesn’t begin his stay on the couch as a zygote. Doesn’t impact the dweller with who knows what burdens. Doesn’t invade the body of the dweller changing everything in her life. A responsible apt. dweller knows herself and what she’s capable of sustaining at that moment in time. An irresponsible dweller divorces control of her life selfishly burdening all in her family and the ‘person’ itself’ bringing who knows what future unhappiness.

    A responsible woman PLANS her family, not the other way around.

  6. 356

    kat, #355: The only way you can remove them from your house is to kill them, cut them into pieces, and carry the pieces out your door and onto the street.

    I can’t even remotely imagine this as a possible scenario.

    You see, here’s the thing. Analogies are very heavily used in discussions of morality and ethics. That is because morality and ethics are largely subjective in nature, and so one cannot do empirical research to determine what the true ethical or moral position should be in any objective sense. Analogies are important, therefore, in investigating situations on which there is disagreement by comparing them to similar situations where there might be some disagreement.

    However, abortion is a situation with which there are very, very few situations that are close enough to make a good comparison. Reasonable scenarios are all different in very important details leaving us to contrive some weird bizarre scerios where the weirdness becomes too much of a distraction to be useful.

    Personally, I think you should refrain from the analogies for a bit. They really aren’t helping your case.

  7. 358

    kat: I’m unaware of any specific claims that I “purported” that are anything but differences of opinion (e.g. what counts as an abortion — is it just an action taken with the foreknowledge that the fetus will not survive, or does it actually also require that the woman not “want” the baby?), or that I haven’t already otherwise addressed ad nauseam throughout these comments. If you would kindly point me to something that you feel I haven’t already addressed, I can see if I can give it a full hearing. Or, alternately, I can point you to exactly where I already answered it. I don’t normally like doing people’s homework for them, but in your case, since you’re insisting, you get this treatment once.

    Additionally, I’m with Chiroptera. Analogies are used to try to find some common ground between a situation where morality is clear, and one where it is not. You can’t create an analogy between a blastocyst or fetus and a living, breathing, viable, self-actualized, adult human being no matter which way you slice it, so even though you were still failing with the egg analogy, it was actually far closer.

  8. 359

    So, kat, how do you feel about mandatory bone marrow donation? People die for lack of appropriate transplant donor every day and bone marrow donation is far safer than pregnancy. Or how about kidney donation? It’s about as dangerous as an average pregnancy and definitely saves lives. Are you even voluntarily in the BM registry?

  9. 360

    Kat:

    I’m also sexually active and a volunteer at Harvard in sexual health education programs and peer counseling, currently obtaining a minor degree in studies of women, gender, and sexuality.

    You aren’t the first dimbulb on whom an elite education has been wasted and you won’t be the last. And I’d love to hear your professors’ reactions to your shit-tastic analogy, which makes me want to do nothing so much as get out a cheap apron and some Hefty bags.

    Let me guess: “liberal” xtian? Perhaps “liberal” Catholic, pretending that “the church is her people, not her leaders” while you throw money into the collection plate of a rapist collective that continued to make castrati into the 20th century, except that the point was to get them not to sing?

    And I put “liberal” in sneer quotes because, even if your politics aren’t utterly wretched, this:

    If a baby climbs inside a woman of its own volition and refuses to leave, then you’ll have an intruder.

    is functionally the same as “Consent to sex equals consent to pregnancy and labor,” or, “You spread your legs; you pay the price.”

    Fuck you for lending rhetorical ammunition to people who want to reduce women to livestock. I sure as shit wouldn’t want to be “counseled” by you.

  10. 361

    What never fails to astound me about posters like Kat is how very sincerely they believe that carrying a child and having a child is an appropriate punishment for having sex, no matter how wanton and/or irresponsible and/or just plain down dirty FUN said sex was.

    So what if it IS a slutty slut McSlutgirl who never used any contraception and fucked every single dood she ever crossed paths with? Then she falls pregnant and she’s not ready to settle down and give up her partying to have a kid yet.

    Do you really think that having a child carried and/or born unto that kind of irresponsibility is a GOOD thing? For ANYONE, not the fucking least of which the CHILD?

    Think about the children, for lawd’s sakes! That’s just inhuman.

  11. 363

    kat

    I must point out that you called the lower mortality rate for pregnant women “lies” immediately before you acknowledge the study that demonstrated such a lowered mortality rate. Whether causation exists or not (and I’m aware that correlation does not and cannot imply causation), the difference in mortality rate IS a fact.

    Oh hell, how fucking illiterate and dishonest are you?

    This is what you claimed:

    And Finland’s records of “safe, legal abortions” show that death results from abortion several times more often than it does for childbirth.

    I showed you that you lied and you’re doing it again

  12. 364

    I’m also sexually active and a volunteer at Harvard in sexual health education programs and peer counseling

    Somehow I doubt Kat’s counseling is a dispassionate offering of all options available to women.

  13. 365

    Somehow I doubt Kat’s counseling is a dispassionate offering of all options available to women.

    Since kat managed to confuse 14 weeks early, aka 26 weeks of gestation (size: 15″, weight: 1.5 lbs) with 14 weeks of gestation (size: 3″, weight 1.5 ounces), nothing that would happen to anybody with a passing knowlege in human embryology and pregnancy, I also doubt that her counselling would involve lots of accurate facts.

  14. 368

    Life begins at 5 weeks when the brain, spinal cord and heart develop. Cell division begins at conception. No “soul” enters the body at any point in time (ever) and that is the stupidest thing to believe in. “Magic happens”? Please…that’s dumb.

    It seems that every single conservative republican I’ve ever met or read about missed a few years of science classes.

    Read a science book instead of the bible. One is filled with facts, the other is fictional and filled with stories, written and conceived in the mind of ancient men.

    If a woman is raped or an act of incest occurs, she should be able to freely choose what she wants to do.

    The government DOES NOT own your uterus. It’s yours…so is that brain in your head…so use it.

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