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Rick Santorum: Single Mothers Make Up 'Democratic Advantage'

First Posted: 10/18/11 02:35 PM ET Updated: 10/18/11 03:09 PM ET

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said on a radio show last week that the GOP's strategy for reducing "the Democratic advantage" should be to marry off all the single mothers who "look to the government for help."

"Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: It is single mothers who run a household," he told Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative think tank Family Research Council. "Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government."

The main problem Santorum would face in efforts to reduce the number of single mothers in the country is that he opposes all forms of family planning, abortion and sex education efforts. The former Pennsylvania senator supports a federal abortion ban, even in cases of rape and incest. He voted down funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, supported the Title V "abstinence-only" program that forbids the discussion of contraception, and opposes insurance coverage of birth control and abortions for low-income women.

Santorum also voted for measures that would increase the financial burden on single mothers, thereby making them more dependent on government services. He supported the "family cap" in 1995 that forbid states to give mothers on welfare more financial assistance after the birth of a child, and he voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act, which would have ensured 12 weeks of unpaid leave for women to care for their new babies.

But Santorum maintains his hypothesis that one-person families are going to be the downfall of the economy and the Republican Party in America.

“The word ‘home’ in Greek is the basis of the word ‘economy,’" he said during the New Hampshire presidential debate. "It is the foundation of our country. You can’t have a limited government if the family breaks down.”

CORRECTION: This story previously stated that Rick Santorum is a former Massachusetts senator. He is a former Pennsylvania senator.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.)
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Romney's position on abortion and other women's health issues switched from pro-choice to anti-choice during his term as governor from 2003 to 2007, and his record on choice-related issues is mixed. He vetoed a measure that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription to rape victims, but he signed into law a measure to expand family planning services for low-income women and families in Massachusetts.

Romney was also one of the few GOP candidates who refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List's pro-life pledge, because his camp said it could have some "potentially unforeseen consequences." But he believes abortion should only be legal in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, and he said if he were president he would support the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"This is not the time for the Republican Party to put up a candidate who is weak on the pro-life issue or has a history of flip-flopping over it," Bachmann said of Romney at a National Right to Life convention in June.

Romney said as president he would defund Planned Parenthood, and then took it even further saying he'd "get rid of that" altogether.
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