RICK SANTORUM: APOSTLE TO THE HANDICAPPED

Don C. Marler

 3/1/12

Rick Santorum in a recent rant against birth control and abortion, accused those who don’t agree with his position of wanting to use abortion to “cull the ranks of the disabled”. He said they were motivated by a desire to avoid the costs of care for the disabled. It cannot be denied that the monetary costs of their care is often very high, but monetary costs are not the only consideration.

I spent many years of my professional life working with institutions that cared for the severely physically and mentally handicapped. The story of just one of those persons will suffice to illustrate the limitations of Mr. Santorum’s thinking.

Let’s call her Jill (not her real name). She was an eleven years old girl born with no skull. Skin alone covered her brain that; was a brain in name only. It barely functioned enough to keep her alive. She always lay flat on her back and her head took on the characteristics of a bag of water. Her eyes lay on her cheeks as there was no bone for eye sockets. And the bag of water spread around on the pillow. Jill could make no purposeful movements and could not speak or make many sounds at all. It was evident, however that she was miserable and suffering. Those attending her did a wonderful job keeping her clean, fed and free of bedsores. They kept her alive day after day which was all that could be done.

Can Mr. Santorum and those who follow his theology calculate the cost that Jill, her parents and siblings bore in physical and mental suffering? Is the pain and suffering that Jill endured part of the price for Mr. Santorum to enjoy his belief system?

Had Jill’s mother had adequate prenatal care Jill could have been aborted avoiding a lifetime of suffering that had no hope of ending until her death years later. To what purpose was her life and suffering?

What was the most loving thing that could have been done for her; abort or preserve life at all costs ? Who would say that preserving life in this situation was the most loving thing that could be done for this innocent being.

Does the abstract principle of preserving life at all costs justify condemning her to a life of unfathomable suffering. Is the principle greater than the person?   Is a principle a rock solid, inflexible straight jacket to be followed at all costs or a guide to give direction to treatment of our fellow human beings?

One does not have to look far to find those among Santorum’s fellow fundamentalists who believe that Jill’s condition is part of God’s plan. They seldom make the logical connection that if that is true then any attempt to prevent or ameliorate her condition is interference with His Holy plan. Using whatever wiggle-room they can find, some would try to explain this perverted plan by arguing that He is, by creating an innocent child as a completely nonfunctioning entity, testing the willingness of those in her environment to care for her. Never mind that God is depicted by these fundamentalists as all knowing; therefore, having foreknowledge, needs no test to prove anything. Nor do these fundamentalists have an answer to the question of why these tests have to be repeated thousands of time each year for millennia.

Mr. Santorum sees any effort to prevent the birth of a severely and physically disabled person as ‘culling” them from society. He makes this sound like a sinister and unloving act.  The reader can decide.

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1 Comment

Filed under Abortion & Birth Control

One response to “RICK SANTORUM: APOSTLE TO THE HANDICAPPED

  1. Nancy Henry

    Great article!!!

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