Rick Santorum Should Leave Bella Out of It

Using a sick three-year-old to troll for votes is disgusting.

So Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella turns out not to have been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia over the weekend after all. She was in Virginia. No matter. She’s wherever Rick is, since he’s been tearing up the stump—and causing audiences to tear up—by making her “the emotional centerpiece” of his campaign, as the New York Times says. “She is a font of love,” the candidate told supporters at a Charleston, South Carolina, church recently. “And she made me understand that that’s how the Father looks at me.” He says he’s running for president because he wants to ensure that society respects “the dignity of every human life.” He’s winning plaudits from Republicans for putting Bella’s needs ahead of his campaign. But is that really what he’s doing, when he employs her as a whistle-stop prop?

I have the utmost respect and sympathy for families who must cope with genetically and congenitally ill children. I’ve watched good friends—friends who scrimp by on minimum-wage jobs, friends who don’t earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from stock options and speechifying and consulting—struggle to care for such children. It’s a terrible grind, especially if you’re a single parent, say, and don’t have paid help, a spouse, and six other kids to lend a hand—not to mention a great insurance plan to cover the enormous monetary costs.

Rick and Karen Santorum chose for Karen to become pregnant at the advanced age of 48, knowing that maternal age is a risk factor in a host of genetic abnormalities. They chose to bring Bella into the world. Good for them. The difference between the Santorums and me is that I would never, ever make such momentous, life-altering choices on behalf of another person. And the Santorums? Despite the fact that Karen shacked up for years with an abortion provider—and brought at least one friend to him to have a pregnancy terminated—and despite the fact that they themselves have said that to save Karen’s life, they would have opted for a partial-birth abortion in 1997, when she became ill while carrying stillborn son Gabriel—the Santorums want to take away other women’s rights to choose to take contraceptives and undergo abortions even in cases of rape.

Rick told the Inquirer back in ’97: “Obviously, if it was a choice of whether both Karen and the child are going to die or just the child is going to die, I mean it’s a pretty easy call.”

The operative word there is “choice.”

  • libertyfreedom1

    This article distorts Santorum’s position.

    Hingston’s only purpose is to sling mud.

  • peter1

    It most certainly doesn’t. Is there anything in here that’s factually incorrect? Santorum is a flat-out snake. From living in Virginia while he was a PA Senator, to his beliefs (which change to suit his needs), he has shown himself to be nothing more than a political opportunist. And the fact that a guy like him, who as an incumbent Senate leadership member lost the last election he was in by nearly 20 percentage points, was a fairly serious contender for the Republican nomination (and may still be in play as a VP candidate) speaks volume about the lack of quality of viable Republicans on a national level.

  • 1thespian

    Just listened to Ms. Hinkston on 1210am radio, and I disagree with her that Rick Santorum should leave Bella out of it. Presidential nominees are investigated and interrogated beyond necessity, so the media broadcasts everything the do, say and think. Society does want to know the degree of concern a nominee displays concerning their family, faith, behaviors, past history, etc. Mr. Santorium SHOULD be with his girl, Bella, especially, when her health is threatened. He is a fine example of a caring father, and I would vote for him in a “supporting” heartbeat.