Huffpost Politics
Jennifer Bendery Headshot

Rick Santorum On Texas Abortion Bill: It's Not Radical, It's Part Of A 'Movement Of Love'

Posted: Updated:

AUSTIN, Texas -- As Texas legislators inched closer on Thursday to passing one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the country, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) showed up to criticize the media for portraying the legislation as radical instead of something else altogether: part of a "movement of love."

During a press conference with Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and a group of mostly male Republican legislators, Santorum took shots at the press, at Democrats and even at Republicans for not celebrating the "courageous" Texas lawmakers pushing through the anti-abortion measure. Among other things, the bill would ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy and require that all abortions -- including those induced by a pill -- to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers. It would also shutter nearly all of the state's abortion clinics.

"There's very little public praise within the media. There's just scorn," Santorum said of some people's reactions to the bill. "Even today in the Republican Party, there is, maybe reaching scorn."

GOP Texas legislators are pushing a bill that would "protect a child who would otherwise be born alive," Santorum continued, but the media is casting them as "a radical group. Meanwhile, he said, Republicans elsewhere "do not line up behind them" and Democrats, including President Barack Obama, are cheering Democratic Texas Sen. Wendy Davis for filibustering the bill for 11 hours during the last legislative session, ultimately helping to kill it.

"This is an important moment for everyone to recognize where the abortion debate really is in America," said Santorum, who ran for president in 2012. "The face of the pro-life movement [is] people out there every day embracing women, whether they decide to have an abortion or not. They love them. ... It is the movement of love. That's what this movement is about."

Santorum's remarks came as the abortion bill cleared a final hurdle before its certain passage into law. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee quietly passed it on Thursday, 6-3. The bill already cleared the House this week and is expected to pass in the Senate late Friday or possibly early Saturday.

Unlike the raucous hearings on the bill over the past few weeks, Thursday's hearing was relatively drama-free. Only a few dozen people showed up -- a sharp contrast to the thousands who have crowded past hearings to testify on both sides of the issue -- and there was no real debate among committee members. One Democrat, Sen. Carlos Uresti, proposed amending the bill to make exceptions for women who become pregnant after being victimized by rape or incest. But Republicans on the panel voted it down.

Republican Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the committee, demurred when asked afterward by HuffPost why she couldn't support an exception for rape or incest.

"Well, I did not support the amendment because the House defeated the amendment," Nelson said, referring to the House voting down an amendment similar to Uresti's.

Pressed on why she didn't support adding it in, regardless of how the House voted, she replied, "Well, that's probably for another discussion." She brushed the question off again when HuffPost suggested now was actually a pretty good time to have that discussion, given the current abortion debate.

"I'll wait for the floor," Nelson said, suggesting she may touch on the issue during the Senate's full debate on the bill.

Opponents of the bill said they recognize there's nothing they can do at this point to stop the bill from becoming law. Time isn't on their side like it was in the final days of the last legislative session, when Senate Democrats filibustered it past the session's end, and Gov. Rick Perry already has his pen ready to sign it into law the moment it hits his desk. Dewhurst told reporters Thursday that the Senate will not be interrupted by "unruly mobs" this time when it takes up the bill.

But a few pro-abortion rights Texans still made their feelings known during Thursday's hearing.

As the senators began their roll call vote on the bill, about a half-dozen people in the audience started humming, "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister. As the roll call vote continued, the humming grew louder and eventually turned into full-blown singing, drowning out the senators casting their votes. They kept singing as security officers took them by the arms and led them out of the hearing into the hall.

One woman shouted a final message to the committee as they adjourned: "Shame on you."

Also on HuffPost:

Close
Wendy Davis Speaks For 11 hours On The Abortion Bill
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Santorum to jump into Texas abortion ban battle - CNN Political Ticker

Texas Senate prepares final vote on abortion bill - Houston Chronicle

Santorum to Campaign for Texas Abortion Bill - Newsmax.com

Senate gets abortion bill; Santorum hold rally