Santorum Calls Anti-Abortion Attack on Wife Karen 'Ugly, Cheap, Tawdry'

on January 20 2012 11:52 AM
Rick Santorum Calls Anti-Abortion Attack on Wife Karen 'Ugly, Cheap, Tawdry'
Pro-life activist Elizabeth Leichert released a flier this week slamming Santorum for allegedly being a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in his opposition to abortion. But in was Leichert's attack on the GOP candidate's wife Karen, whom she accused of having a "six year affair" with an older abortionist, that forced the former Pennsylvania senator to strike back. REUTERS

GOP primary candidate Rick Santorum's campaign was under fire in South Carolina this week, but from an unexpected source: a pro-life activist named Elizabeth Leichert.

Leichert, in a widely publicized flier originally distributed outside an anti-abortion event in Greenville, S.C., accused Santorum of being a wolf in sheep's clothing and of secretly supporting pro-choice legislation.

But it's what Leichert says about Santorum's wife Karen that has the Republican presidential hopeful striking back.

Because along with claiming that her husband's record is riddled with pro-choice legislation, Leichert also slams Karen Santorum for having a six year affair with an abortionist 30 years her senior, and claims that the candidate's wife was also delivered by him when she was born.

'Karen wanted kids... Tom was busy killing them.'

The flier, which can be read in full here, began with an out-of-context quote from twenty years ago where Santorum told the Pittsburgh Press that he tried to dance around the issue of abortion.

But Elizabeth Leichert quickly abandoned any pretense of policy discussion to employ some of the dirtiest politics the Republican race has seen in South Carolina so far.

Did you know Rick Santorum's wife, Karen, had a six-year affair with an abortionist named Tom Allen? the bright pink flier began.

This abortion doctor was 30 years her senior! it continued. In fact, he delivered her as a baby!

It asserts that Karen Santorum had no problems with his profession, and that Rick Santorum told Allen that he was pro-choice.

The only reason they [Karen Santorum and Tom Allen] broke up was that Karen wanted kids-- while Tom was busy killing them, the fleir concluded.

Leichert's Inflammatory Flier

Elizabeth Liechert got her information from The New York Daily News and The Daily Beast, which claim that Allen, actually forty years her senior, dated Karen Santorum throughout her twenties.

Tom Allen actually spoke of the relationship to the press as far back as 2005, when he was interviewed by the Philadelphia City Paper. Karen Santorum has never addressed his assertions.

But even if the couple were in a relationship in the early 1980s, it doesn't follow that her views on abortion when she was dating Allen couldn't have changed after she married the deeply conservative, religious Rick Santorum.

Nor does it follow that Karen Santorum's past relationships would ever have had any bearing on her husband's politics, or his beliefs.

In fact, Allen's interview does much more to support the idea that Santorum's position on abortion is genuine, not to discredit it.

In the inflammatory flier, Leichert wrote that Allen called Santorum pro-choice and a humanist.

But the quote in full suggests that Karen said this to placate Allen, and that the former Pennsylvania Senator was actually nothing of the kind.

When she moved out to go be with Rick, she told me I'd like him, that he was pro-choice and a humanist, said Allen. But I don't think there's a humanist bone in that man's body.

Santorum's Virulently Anti-Choice Record

Leichert's assertion that Santorum has time and again endorsed pro-choice politicians and opposed anti-abortion legislation, meanwhile, is patently false.

The former Pennsylvania Senator is, in fact, one of the most virulent and uncompromising opponents not only of abortion, but of birth control at large.

Since the mid '90s, Santorum has been consistently and unequivocally oppose to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

ABC News reports that he has signed a pledge to appoint, if elected, only those with strong anti-abortion views to key positions in his administration.

And a look at his congressional record shows a candidate who sponsored the Child Custody Protection Act and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, and authored the Federal Abortion Ban during his time in Congress.

He has pledged to repeal federal funding for contraception as well as other forms of birth control if elected president.

And during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Santorum cast 27 choice-related votes. All 27 of them were anti-choice.

'It's ugly, it's cheap, it's tawdry.'

Rick Santorum has declined to even comment on how the flier cast aspersions on his record.

But when reporters at Buzzfeed caught up with the former Pennsylvania Senator in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Santorum did take a moment to slam Leichert for her attack on his wife.

It's ugly, it's cheap, it's tawdry, said Santorum. It has no relationship to the issues at hand in this race, and we're gonna treat it just like the ridiculous stuff that you see where you treat it for the value it is, which is zero.

Even those who oppose Santorum, or even have contempt for him like site fitsnews.com, has risen to the politician's defense over being unfairly attacked. The thought process is that if you're going to oppose a candidate, at least oppose them for positions they actually hold.

It's a viewpoint the family values candidate can get behind.

The sad part is that you see a lot of negativity, you see a lot of folks who are just being hurtful on a variety of things, the GOP candidate said yesterday.

That's the ugly side of politics, and it's not one that I'm going to pay frankly any attention to.

UPDATE: In an attempt to contact Elizabeth Leichert for comment, I discovered that the only record I could find of any Ms. Leicherts were two women in Tennessee and Virginia and a death certificate for an Elizabeth Leichert who lived in Florida. It may therefore be safe to assume that the name Elizabeth Leichert was used as a pseudonym.

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