WICHITA, Kan. - As the Kansas legislature gears up for another session of spending most of their time on abortion bills, I could not help but reflect that Rick Santorum would be the presidential candidate to win Kansas.
Everyone knows a candidate in Kansas only has to support one issue to be electable; support the unborn. Nothing else matters; not a good jobs bill, not money for the arts or providing good healthcare and funding public education, but forcing women to give birth is the ticket to elective office in Kansas. This one issue defines evangelical conservatism across America as well.
Nothing illustrates this better than Rick Santorum's campaign leading up to the Iowa Caucus. A voter in Newton, Iowa asked Santorum about his reaction to a liberal journalists who criticized Santorum's decision to take his deceased infant home to show his other children.
The question quite naturally caused Santorum's wife to tear up.
Obviously, the tragedy of recalling the death of an infant child who lived just a few hours is an extremely sad memory to recall. One would have expected Santorum to quietly reply he would not comment on something so personal and painful but instead he cried and described the episode to the voters present.
His words and tears pulled on the heartstrings of the voters. He failed, however to mention that he and his wife are hypocrites when it comes to other women facing the same tough medical decisions about their pregnancies.
Not only do I reject Santorum's holier than-thou position on the sanctity of life, but I find it pretty self-serving to talk about something so personal before the voters. Dare I say, his discussion of the death of his child bordered on political expediency and revealed his true character as a man who will use any means at his disposal to win votes. Where I come from in Iowa, we are not supposed to talk about such deeply personal things in public, even if we are asked.
Mrs. Santorum discovered in her second trimester that their child had serious fetal abnormalities and when several medical interventions were tried, she developed a high fever and was rushed to the hospital.
The couple was told she would die if she continued with the pregnancy. She was just 20 weeks when the child was delivered and died soon after. The Santorum's rationalized, as any reasonable parents would, that it was better to save Mrs. Santorum's life rather than leaving her children without a mother.
Of course, their decision upset the pro-life principle that life is sacred and the loss of the mother is a small sacrifice a women must make. Suddenly, that pro-life principle was thrown out the window when the Santorum's had to face the reality of such a one dimensional and nutty choice.
What is most offensive is that the Santorum family had options with this doomed pregnancy that candidate Santorum would deny for other women. The Santorum's made the medical decision to take the drugs to save Mrs. Santorum but it ultimately lead to the premature birth of the child-or abortion, as they refused to call it.
There is no mistaking that if the pregnancy had continued without the intervention, Mrs. Santorum would have died. She chose life as so many other women choose to do every day ,and yet conservative Kansas legislators demonize these women and want to take away the choice the Santorum's were given.
The Santorum's certainly wanted all their options on the table when faced with such a tragic set of circumstance but when we are talking about other women and other families, Rick Santorum would prohibit any medical intervention to save the life of the mother.
To take that choice away from every other woman while electing to choose life for Mrs. Santorum, is what I call a hypocrite.
During his speech after the Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum used his children once again by talking about his three-and-half-year-old daughter Isabella Maria who has a disability. He said the dignity of ever human life motivated him to run for president. This was a not so subtle code to voters that Santorum believes everyone facing the cost, care and stress of raising a disabled child should follow his example.
Of course, the dignity afforded to other women and families to determine their own decisions in such circumstances would be denied and rejected. Again, this is conservative hypocrisy at its finest.
The conservative tag line of "less government" doesn't mean less government intrusion in the most private decisions of a woman and family's life. It doesn't matter to conservatives in Kansas if a woman has been raped, if the pregnancy will kill the woman or emotionally destroy her mental health. The only thing that matters is giving birth unless of course, it is a conservative's daughter, sister or wife and then suddenly it's not an abortion-it's a pregnancy that had a bad outcome.
Conservative's obsession with the sanctity of life is just fraudulent. If life is so precious, war would be outlawed, guns would be destroyed, liquor taken off the market since it ruins so many lives in addiction and car accidents and polluting the earth and water would be seen as a death sentence to all humanity and laws would uphold the integrity and safety of the earth's resources. So much for the sanctity of life.
It's nice to know that as the 2012 legislative session begins, Kansans can look forward to the same sorry group of conservative legislators who are only interested in promoting their big egos, their extreme religious views and obsessing over finding clever ways to continue making women give birth against their will-unless of course you are a conservative and then God gives you free will to make an intelligent decision to have an abortion.
Look for Rick Santorum to visit Kansas and help our crack legislators write a bill to outlaw birth control.