Magazine article The Human Life Review

Worth the Fight

Magazine article The Human Life Review

Worth the Fight

Article excerpt


On Friday, May 30th, Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (R.) and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, received an award from the Sisters of Life, the order of religious sisters founded by the late John Cardinal O'Connor in 1991. The Sisters were established, according to the late cardinal archbishop of New York, to "restore to all society a sense of the sacredness of human life."

The John Cardinal O'Connor Award was given to the Santorums in recognition of "the courage, nobility, and love with which they live their vocation to marriage and family life," Mother Agnes Mary, the superior general (a former professor at the Teacher's College at Columbia University) of the Sisters of Life said. "They have publicly witnessed to a private suffering shared by many families throughout the world." In 1998, Mrs. Santorum published Letters to Gabriel, a memoir of her pregnancy and the 20-week life of their fourth child, Gabriel Michael Santorum. Gabriel was born prematurely and died two hours after being delivered.

After a few weeks under an extra-hot spotlight, following comments made to an Associated Press reporter (who just happened to be married to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's campaign manager) about homosexuality and other lightening rods, the senator obviously appreciated the warm, familiar audience of mostly Northeast Corridor Catholics on Friday night. To the receptive audience, most, if not all, genuine pro-life advocates-especially the sisters, who as the senator noted with awe, are the face of love, a face the anti-abortion movement needs to be constantly and consistently and forthrightly dedicated to-the senator recounted the story of what was considered a legislative loss, but wound up a true win for human life.

It's a story he has told a few times now-most recently at his commencement addresses this year at St. Joseph's University and Christendom College-but that not enough people have heard. It's a reminder that the fight is often worth the effort, even when you technically lose in the eyes of most of the world-and you may not always know the fruits of your work, either.

Here's the story, as Santorum tells it; he was fortunate enough to find out how he won during what would have otherwise been considered a legislative defeat:

"In 1998, I was on the floor of the United States Senate debating the override of the president's veto of the partial-birth-abortion bill. The next morning was to be the vote. …

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