Rick Santorum's Gone but not Forgotten: Top 5 Worst Quotes on Women's Health
Yesterday, Rick Santorum’s surprisingly long journey ended, and he announced he would be suspending his bid for the presidency. While we won’t miss his policy ideas, Santorum served as an important reminder to women and men, just how extreme the right wing can be when it comes to issues like women’s health.
As one of our most featured Chumps (having received both permanent and weekly chump status), we thought we’d take a look back through his greatest “hits” — his most horrifying statements on women’s health.
1) Warned of the dangers of contraception — Yes, it’s true. Rick Santorum once warned of “the dangers of contraception,” said that it’s “not okay,” and furthermore said the states should have a right to ban its use. In his own words: "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It’s not okay."
2) Believes that saying life begins at conception, concedes ground — As a candidate, Santorum signed the Personhood USA Pledge, promising to support a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception. Here’s what he had to say on the issue:
“When politicians say ‘I believe life begins at conception,’ that is conceding ground, and the ground that we concede is by using the term ‘believe.’ Life beginning at conception is not a ‘belief.’ It’s not an article of faith. It’s an article of fact. It's biological fact that, in fact, that life begins as conception.”
3) Santorum told rape survivors to “make the best of a bad situation” — After repeatedly touting his extreme position that abortion should be banned, even in cases of rape or incest, and also suggesting that doctors who provide comprehensive reproductive care should be criminally charged, Santorum attempted to explain his extreme position:
“…the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.”
4) Thinks birth control costs “just a few dollars” and is a “minor expense” — Santorum thinks that health insurance companies shouldn’t have to cover birth control with no co-pay because it costs “just a few dollars.” In actuality, birth control can cost up to $600 dollars a year and one in three women voters have struggled to afford birth control over their lifetime:
“[I]nterestingly enough, here is what they are forcing them to do — in an insurance policy, they or [sic] forcing them to pay for something that costs just a few dollars. Is that what insurance is for? The foundational idea that we have the government tells you that you have to pay for everything as a business. Things that are not really things you need insurance for, and still forcing on something that is not a critical economic need, when you have an economic distress, where you would need insurance. But forcing them even more to do it for minor expenses.”
5) Pledged to defund Planned Parenthood– On multiple occasions, Santorum has said he wants to ban Planned Parenthood — which provides millions of women with preventive care like breast and cervical cancer screenings and STD testing — from receiving any federal funds, while managing to call the organization both poisonous and racist:
“I can’t imagine any other organization with its roots as poisonous as the roots of Planned Parenthood getting federal funding of any kind. This is an organization that was founded on the eugenics movement, founded on racism. Its origins are horrific. You can say well, it's not that anymore. It’s not far from where it was in my opinion in its activities and its motivations.”
You can imagine we aren’t overly upset to see Santorum exit the presidential race. After all, Santorum was the same person who took credit for the passage of every major piece of anti-choice legislation that came through the Senate for the last 20 years.
But if you think you can breathe a sigh of relief because Santorum’s gone, you’d be sorely mistaken because Mitt Romney holds the same exact positions on women’s health. Even Santorum’s famous financial backer, who suggested that women simply hold “aspirin” between their knees as sufficient form of birth control, has moved on and is supporting Mitt Romney. So while one anti-women’s health politician may have exited the race, there’s still a long road to November and women need to be watching!
Photo Credit: AP Photo