CNS News

Is Santorum right on slavery comparison?

Below are some great comments from Politco’s The Arena section about Santorum’s comments…

Politico   (Backstory)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who’s contemplating a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, is questioning how President Barack Obama – as an African-American – can support abortion rights.

In an interview with CNS News, Santorum argued that a fetus is a person and said he considers it “almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”

Nancy KeenanPresident, NARAL Pro-Choice America :

Mr. Santorum’s comments are offensive and outrageous. Sadly, they echo the themes we see a growing number of anti-choice lawmakers and groups using to advance their agenda on a number of fronts. In Colorado, voters have twice rejected ballot measures that would have established legal status for fertilized eggs from the moment of conception. In Georgia and other states, anti-choice groups are using civil rights language, even equating abortion with our country’s painful history of slavery, in a cynical attempt to support additional restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.

 

Sherrilyn Ifill Professor of Law, U. Md. :

I hardly think that Sen. Rick Santorum – the man who suggested that penalties should be imposed on residents who didn’t leave New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina struck – can surprise anyone with an addition to his by now mile-long parade of insulting and offensive statements. This one is just the latest.

Of course he won’t be elected president, but he will see an increase in support from some factions within the far right of the Republican Party. And this is the problem: any offensive statement directed at President Obama seems to boost standing with the GOP base. This may explain why our civility project is doomed to failure.

 

Richard M. Skinner Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rollins College :

Santorum’s comments actually help his presidential campaign. They fit nicely with the belief of many anti-abortion activists that their cause is the modern equivalent of abolitionism. I’m sure many African-Americans will find them offensive, but few vote in Republican primaries. By capturing media attention through engendering controversy, Santorum has reminded voters that he actually exists.

This will be irrelevant should either Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee choose to run, since they would attract the bulk of socially conservative voters. But if neither seek the presidency, Santorum could become a contender for this bloc of support, if not a realistic prospect for the nomination.

 

Curt A. Levey Executive Dir., Committee for Justice :

The most remarkable thing about Rick Santorum’s comparison of abortion and slavery is the mainstream media’s initial reaction treating it as a gaffe. That reaction reflects the intellectual smugness that has made “mainstream media” a bad word in much of America.

The analogy between the slavery debate in the 19th century and the abortion debate in modern times is a solid one, given that both centered on 1) who to include in the definition of “human” and 2) whether the ultimate moral decision should be legislated or left to individuals. Despite the similarities, well-meaning people are free to reject the abortion-slavery analogy given that there is no longer any disagreement that slavery was a moral outrage.

However, to refuse to see the similarities and, instead, view the analogy as ignorant is to contemptuously dismiss the half of America that considers abortion to be the taking of a human life and a moral outrage. You don’t have to share the moral judgment of pro-life Americans, but to dismiss their values as unworthy of serious consideration is the very definition of smugness.

 

Christine Pelosi Attorney, author and Democratic activist :

As a woman, I find it almost remarkable that Rick Santorum can publicly intrude on a woman’s private decision to exercise reproductive freedom.

As an American, I find it offensive that Santorum engaged in racial profiling and believe he should apologize. As I just posted in explaining the double digit generation gap favoring Democrats, young people are tired of being divided along race, immigration and sexual orientation and will consider Santorum’s racial profiling unbecoming of a national figure.

Voters who believe there are many ways to support your values without telling others what they should think based upon their race will reject Santorum’s effort to invoke slaveholders in order to oppose reproductive freedom.

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