Rick Santorum's Views On Women's Rights

Hoping to recapture some of his 2012 magic, Rick Santorum has announced he's running for president again. You probably remember Santorum performed surprisingly well in the GOP presidential primaries that year, coming in as runner-up to Mitt Romney for the party's nomination. But you might also remember the huge outcry when it came to Rick Santorum's views on women's rights. In case you needed a refresher, they were pretty outdated.

Santorum, a devout Catholic, has often cited his religious faith for shaping his political platform. The former Pennsylvania senator's 2012 campaign heavily relied on the religious vote, and many conservatives heralded Santorum as a true right-wing politician. But Santorum's strict religious views often came at the expense of women's issues, particularly when it came to contraception and abortion rights. Appearance after appearance, Santorum found himself the butt of headlines blasting him for some pretty incredulous quotes about women, from working mothers to single moms.

Santorum is already promising a different campaign this time around with a tagline of "Restoring the American Dream for Hardworking Families." Whether that means he'll adopt a new attitude toward women has yet to be seen. This year's election is expected to put women's rights front and center, and that could mean another tough go-around for Santorum.


Santorum has long espoused his opposition to abortion — no matter how horrific the circumstances. During a CNN interview, he said women who became pregnant after being raped should "make the best out of a bad situation."

You can make the argument that if she doesn't have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice, I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or she doesn't, it will always be her child, and she will always know that.

Single Mothers

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Way back when in 1994, during his first Senate run, Santorum blamed single mothers for "breeding more criminals" and continuing the country's welfare system. He also said there needed to be more politicians who could resort to "kicking them in the butt."

We are seeing it. We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it's falling apart because of single moms.

Working Women

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In his book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Santorum blamed what he called "radical feminism" for making families believe they need two incomes and creating a stigma around full-time moms. Women have the right to decide whether they want to work or stay at home, and often the decision to be employed isn't just about the money. In response to critics, Santorum later said his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, actually wrote that controversial "working women" chapter.

What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else — or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon — find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism.

Women In Combat

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During an interview with CNN's John King, Santorum doubted whether women should be at the front lines during combat, suggesting their emotions would create "compromising situations." He later backtracked by insisting he meant men's emotions would be affected after seeing a woman "in harm's way" or "in a vulnerable position." I mean, either explanation is pretty shortsighted.

I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved.

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