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Monday Motivation: What Rick Santorum “Knows”

rickysanto - real talk from professor santorum

Welcome to the Monday Motivation, your weekly reminder of why the pro-choice movement matters.

Let’s start this week’s Motivation with a palate-cleansing roundup of what right-wingers had to say about women’s right to choose at last week’s National Right to Life Convention in New Orleans. Among the anti-choicers’ most absurd claims about abortion rights, according to ThinkProgress: The fight against choice is as important as the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage (Marco Rubio);  those who oppose laws forcing women to undergo and look at ultrasounds are just people who “want to kill babies” (Ben Carson); and if you believe in climate science, you should also believe in anti-abortion “science” (Rick Santorum).

Santorum won heavy praise for his hardline anti-choice positions from LifeNews, which raved about another comment he made at the event: “I don’t believe life begins at conception, I know it does.” That’s right, the guy who doesn’t believe in science when it comes to climate change sure thinks he’s qualified to “know” that a fertilized egg is actually a fully formed “life” from the moment of conception. Thanks, Professor Santorum?

Speaking of things Rick Santorum thinks he knows, the Presidential hopeful also said this weekend that this month’s historic Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage is part of the “cancer” that is the spread of abortion rights. Right Wing Watch reports that Santorum said Roe v. Wade and other decisions on abortion rights have led America to “fundamental rewriting of the Constitution, ignoring truth, ignoring Nature and Nature’s Law.” He then said the Supreme Court did not have the final word on the law; “the people” do. Rick Santorum, anarchist?

The New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” feature this week centered on the issue of “birth control on demand,” with three women arguing for wider access to contraception and two arguing against. (Side note: Imagine if the New York Times had an all-or even mostly female panel debating a non-“women’s” issue! That would truly represent some progress.) The two choice opponents, one with the March for Life and one with the libertarian Galen Institute, argue, respectively, that birth control is “dangerous” and that “safe sex” without the risk of pregnancy removes women’s “dignity.” (Seriously. She puts “safe sex” in quotes.)

The March for Life representative, Jeanne Mancini, correctly points out that IUDs and other non-barrier methods of contraception do not protect women from sexually transmitted diseases, but leaps from there to the bizarre claim that IUDs cause abortions (is she reading from Rick Santorum’s playbook?) and the utterly unrealistic suggestion that women have sex with only one person, their husband, ever (and only after marriage). Abstinence followed by lifelong marriage to someone you’ve never had sex with is, according to Mancini, “the path to success and a happy, healthy life.”

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