Rick Santorum Is Not The Right Candidate For GOP Or Democratic Women

It came as a surprise to many when a Washington Post-ABC News Poll reported earlier this week that presidential candidate Rick Santorum has recently gained support from Republican women, in spite of his opposition to birth control, abortion, and government funding that pays for prenatal screenings. Voters and political strategists believe that Santorum’s rising popularity amongst women is connected to his ability to relate to middle-class struggles and has less to do with his views on women’s issues. I find it questionable that women would favor a presidential contender who seeks to limit their freedoms just because they can relate to him. 

The poll, conducted the same week that Santorum made his opposition to abortion clear, showed that his popularity with GOP women has risen 13 points since January, and 57 percent of Republican women now hold a favorable view of him. Santorum has almost caught up to his Republican running mate, Mitt Romney, who is favored by 61 percent of Republican women.  According to the Washington Post, there is no evidence that Santorum’s approval with women in either the Democratic or Republican party has dropped in recent weeks. 

In the past few weeks, Santorum has made statements clarifying that birth control doesn’t work and instead harms women and the country. He expressed his view that birth control encourages premarital sex for teenagers. He also opposes federally-funded prenatal testing because of his belief that the majority of women who find out their fetus has a disability choose to abort their child. The most appalling Santorum-related news on women’s issues was a statement made by his top political supporter, Foster Friess, who said, “Back in my days they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” Santorum distanced himself from Friess’ comments by calling the statement a “stupid” joke, but this light-hearted reaction may be even more offensive to women than the statement.

Joke is the perfect term to characterize the women who actually favor Santorum’s views. A satire titled, “The Partisans: Rick Santorum – Gifts from God,” produced by the Second City Network, portrays how ridiculous it is for women to support Santorum’s beliefs on women’s health. 


All of the women featured in the short film appear to be content and oblivious, claiming that each of their hardships — rape, unwanted pregnancy, physical assault — are gifts from God. It is hard to believe that any woman, Republicans included, would feel blessed after experiencing a trauma as severe as rape.

It’s tough to explain the recent polls, but I can only hope that women realize how insulting Santorum’s views are and see how adversely it impacts their own lives.

Photo Credit: marcn

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Sifat Azad

Sifat is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Kingston University in London as the first-ever recipient of the Hilary Mantel Creative Writing Scholarship Award. She is a CUNY Baccalaureate graduate with dual concentrations in Literature and Creative Writing. Her piece, "Covered," was featured in John Jay's Finest and her short story, "Brownstone," was published in J Journal: New Writing on Justice.

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