Politics & Policy

Santorum Slams GOP Leadership for Inaction on Planned Parenthood: ‘They Are So Afraid of These Issues’

Santorum at the Family Leadership Forum, July 18, 2015. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked GOP congressional leadership today for not immediately moving to pass legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, after video emerged last week of one of the group’s senior officials discussing the sale of fetal organs. Santorum said a vote to defund the group should have already been held.

“I sort of scratch my head at our leadership, because they are so afraid of these issues,” he told a group of reporters in Washington on Monday. “Even when you have an issue that is probably an 80 or 90 percent issue in America, they’re afraid to talk about it. You have a group of members, and a group of donors, who will climb down your throat if you do.”

“They just want to avoid these issues at all cost, and they don’t recognize that these issues don’t go away,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “They don’t go away, and they’re important to people.”

The pro-life Center for Medical Progress released a video last week showing Planned Parenthood executive Deborah Nucatola casually discussing the sale of hearts, lungs, and livers from aborted fetuses, and the methods her organization’s doctors use to procure the organs intact. The video outraged pro-life advocates and raised questions about the legality of Planned Parenthood’s apparent organ trafficking.

House Republican leaders announced a congressional investigation last week, and Senate Republicans moved up their timeline to consider a bill banning all abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

But that’s not fast or far enough for Santorum. “I would’ve had a vote on the floor of the Senate, if I was the Senate leader, to defund Planned Parenthood,” he said. “There should’ve been a vote this week.”

“I don’t understand why we can’t point out the dehumanization that’s going on,” he said. “Every great genocide starts out with a lie of dehumanization.”

#related#“Here we have an opportunity to say, ‘If they’re not humans, then why are we harvesting livers?’” Santorum said. “’If they’re not human, how do they have livers? How do they have hearts? How do they have kidneys? How do they have body parts if they’re not human, and then we can use them on human experimentation?’”

“To me it’s an opportunity to oppose the cruelty of abortion, as well as the hypocrisy of people who are denying the reality of what occurs there,” he said.

Santorum earned a surprise first-place finish in the 2012 Iowa caucuses largely due to his connection with conservative Christian voters who shared his strong views on abortion, same-sex marriage, and other social issues. He went on to unsuccessfully challenge Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican nomination. At this point in the 2016 cycle, he’s polling at just over 4 percent support in Iowa, and under 2 percent nationally.

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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