Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has become the darling of the Republican Party’s religious right as we head into the second quarter of the presidential primary season. Mr. Santorum’s views on many social and cultural issues are unabashed, although they are not particularly unique. He opposes gay marriage and the very idea that gay people deserve fair and equal treatment in civil society. He has attacked feminism as an assault on family values. And he opposes abortion rights.
Frankly, this critique is hardly new, as far as it goes. But Mr. Santorum actually goes further in his assaults on modern life. He has attacked the very idea of birth control, an issue that many Americans probably regard as having been settled 50 years ago.
Ordinarily, Mr. Santorum’s views could be dismissed as those of a crank. The problem is, it’s becoming clear that his growing numbers of supporters apparently agree with his implicit contention that contraception should be outlawed—in the name of Christianity.
Antiabortion zealots want to shut off funding to any organization that performs abortions—even if those organizations also provide low-cost access to life-saving medical procedures like breast-cancer screenings. And yet they insist on calling themselves “pro life.”
That’s the lesson reasonable people will take away from the recent controversy involving the nation’s best-known breast-cancer advocacy group, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Komen, in an act of political and moral cowardice, announced that it would no longer fund Planned Parenthood’s breast-cancer screenings because the organization has come under relentless attack from antiabortion groups. Planned Parenthood, of course, also provides contraception and abortion services in addition to breast-cancer screenings.
Thanks to the quick action of tens of thousands of women, Komen reversed its decision. That’s a good result, but the controversy itself remains very troubling. Why did such a well-known and admired organization feel the need to defund Planned Parenthood in the first place?
After the huge uproar earlier this week when the Susan G. Komen Foundation stated that they’d no longer be giving grants to Planned Parenthood, founder and spokesperson Nancy Brinker told the press today that she’d be giving the money back. In addition, she noted that her politically-motivated agenda when deciding who gets a small portion of funds from the billion dollar breast cancer awareness charity was wrong. You think?