During Tuesday's Republican debate hosted by CNN, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said the Islamic State terror group known as ISIS or ISIL had issued a fatwa on handicapped children, killing dozens of babies in the past several days. Santorum was likely citing reports published by several conservative news outlets, such as Breitbart and Fox News, that reported ISIS had ordered all children with Down syndrome to be killed – a claim that has not been verified.

No concrete evidence that ISIS ever issued such a fatwa has been reported. All of the articles on the alleged fatwa, including those on Fox News cited only one source; the Mosul Eye, an activist group and Wordpress blog run by an anonymous author. The Mosul Eye is run by a historian in Iraq, according to is website. The blog did not provide any evidence for its claims.

Santorum's daughter Bella suffers from a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18, a condition where children are born with an extra chromosome. Around 50 percent of fetuses diagnosed with the condition do survive until full-term and only 10 percent of babies born with the condition live to their first birthday. Bella, who is now seven-years-old despite the odds against her, requires near-constant care for her condition. 

Santorum's comments served as his closing remarks for the final GOP debate of the year, which took place in Las Vegas. The topics of the debate were national security and terrorism, two issues whose importance has increased in the wake of several large-scale Islamic terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, as well as countries around the world. 

The former senator was one of the only candidates who did not advocate for a ground war in his plans to defeat the ISIS. Santorum said U.S. troops could be useful to train local forces on the ground though he did not want a prolonged U.S. invasion. He instead advocated for heightened screening of people trying to enter the country.