He starts out by making a statement that goes against the plain truth of birth control: His first statement is: "I vote and have supported birth control because it is not the taking of a human life." What?????? This statement is in direct contradiction to the plain teaching of the Catholic Church and of the very nature of birth control. Most birth control is an abortifacient, which means that it does not prevent pregnancy, but simply aborts the fertilized egg, not allowing it to implant in the womb but instead dispelling it. Maybe Senator Santorum is in agreement with Speaker Gingrich who said he believed that life does not begin at conception but at implantation, although Gingrich backtracked on this one within a couple of days when the uproar began among Catholic voters.
In the very next statement in this interview, Santorum does a Mario Cuomo (Cuomo is famous for originating the sickeningly hypocritical saying "I'm personally against abortion but I don't have a right to impose my views on others."). Senator Santorum says "I'm not a believer in birth control, at least artificial birth control." But if you combine this with his first statement, that birth control "is not the taking of human life", then what is his problem? He says birth control allows people to do what they want without taking personal responsibility. He clarifies that this is a personal point of view, and makes very clear that from a "government point of view" he has voted for contraception, although he doesn't think it works and that it is harmful to women and to our society because it promotes sex outside of marriage. Can we get any more confusing than that?
Here is the full interview:
I really have no patience for "dancing politicians"- those who try to have it both ways, especially Catholic politicians who want to appear to be supporting Church teaching and at the same time support a popular position which goes directly against Church teaching. And it usually ends up backfiring on them, as shown in this article in which Santorum is attacked by a pro-contraception author:
Santorum: Birth control ‘harmful to women’
By Jennifer RubinSantorum has done nothing to promote the truth about how harmful contraception actually is and in fact, has given ammunition to those who support it.
Yesterday I speculated on some of the reasons Rick Santorum has problems with women voters. This interview from 2006 sure isn’t going to help.For starters, does he realize that married women (men too!) use birth control? [If Santorum had stated the clear truth about birth control, that it is for the most part an abortifacient, and not tried to straddle the fence by admitting he had actually voted for it, the author of this article would have never been able to make this statement] The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control “harmful to women” is, frankly, mind-numbing. If he meant to focus on teen sexual promiscuity, he surely could have, and thereby might have sounded less out of touch. [See my prior comment]
Now, he qualifies his religious views by saying he doesn’t vote against contraception “because it’s not the taking of a human life” (in other contexts he has emphasized that as a legal matter he has no problem with contraception) [this from a "good" Catholic??]. But how does that square with his professed belief that a candidate’s values are essential to understanding and predicting his behavior? [My point exactly] Perhaps that’s an abortion-only rule. (And really, where are George Stephanopoulos’s questions on this topic when you need them?)
In any event, this sort of thing undermines Santorum’s electability argument. [I agree but for totally different reasons] (Current polling match-ups between President Obama and each of the two front runners, before the GOP has a nominee and before Santorum’s record is out there, are virtually useless.) This is how, in part, he lost Pennsylvania — by appearing extreme and schoolmarmish, too far to the right of average voters in a purple state. If he is the nominee in 2012, he might get some blue-collar fellows, but what about those women in Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc.? And what about more secularized suburban communities? Fuggedaboutit.
For a much clearer explanation of the Catholic teaching on birth control: