Marjorie’s Media Pick of the Week: Rick Santorum

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last Friday, seven GOP presidential candidates sat down for a “Thanksgiving Dinner” style forum with Frank Luntz in Iowa. The discussions covered a variety of policy issues, but the theme of the evening centered on faith and family.

Senator Rick Santorum shared a moving story about a time he believed God was testing the limits of his strength. He recalled feeling compelled to champion the life issue during the fight to override then President Clinton’s veto on the partial-birth abortion ban.

On the last day of the debate, he offered an impassioned argument for the sanctity of human life. Sen. Santorum’s heartfelt speech was inspired by the fact that his wife, Karen, was 20 weeks pregnant and awaiting a sonogram to determine the health of their unborn son.

Mr. Santorum has been a champion for life throughout his political career, and we thank him for his powerful and consistent voice!

You can watch his testimony and read the transcript below:

But when I did find the Lord I found myself in a situation where I felt called to take up issues that I vowed I would never do before, and one of them was the issue of life. It just so happened that the issue of partial-birth abortion was on the floor of the Senate at the time and President Clinton had vetoed it, and the person who was supposed to override that veto – fight for it – was a senator from New Hampshire who was up for re-election and he didn’t want to do it because New Hampshire is a tough state, as we all know, on that issue. And so no one else wanted to take it, and I was growing in my faith and felt called to do something, and long story short, I ended up managing a bill, after having spent five years in the House and Senate never saying the word ‘abortion’ – refused to say it. But I walked that journey with a lot of faith, trying to follow what God was calling me to do.

I’ll never forget, the last day of the vote, Diane Feinstein got up and talked about how we have to keep this procedure legal because late in pregnancy, sometimes women would find out that their child would have no eyes or no ears or be blind or lame or have a cleft palate – I mean, she listed all these things. And I got up and said, you know, my wife is pregnant – 20 weeks old – and we have a sonogram in a few days and I don’t know whether our child is perfect or not but they’re no less of a child if they have some sort of disability. Well, a few days later, we lost that vote. I poured everything into it. I never felt better, that I was doing what I was being called to do.

And we went to that sonogram and I’ll never forget the sonographer going over Karen’s abdomen and looking up to us and saying, ‘Your child has a fatal defect and is going to die.’ Our little kids were there at the time and they didn’t know what was going on, but they knew their mommy and daddy were crying. We rushed out of that room and we got in the car and I tried to drive home but I couldn’t. All I could do was cry, and speak bitterly to a God who I thought was calling me. And this was His answer: He was going to take my son. So no, I was not happy with God. This newfound friendship was not as easy a course as I thought. We did everything we could. We resolved we would not lose our son. We had intrauterine surgery, something very experimental, and it worked – except three days later Karen got an infection and he was delivered at 21 weeks. We were blessed he was born alive. And we had the opportunity to hold him for two hours in which he knew only love. Then he passed in our arms.

I was very angry with God. But I was blessed. I was blessed with a wife who, while angry, poured that anger out on pages in letters to him, explaining her love – our love – for him. I was equally blessed to have a mother-in-law who encouraged her to publish that book. And that book took pain and horror and turned it into something beautiful. The book ‘Letters to Gabriel’ sold thousands, tens of thousands of copies, saved I don’t know how many lives. People wrote us and told us that what we went through – our pain – gave them the courage to save the lives of their children. And so what I learned was, if you are faithful, God will be faithful.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization dedicated to electing leaders and advancing legislation to reduce and ultimately end abortion.