Archive | 3:19 am

They Are Crying

27 Jul

Earlier this week, I was doing some research for Archbishop Naumann and came across a back issue (December 1998) of First Things, a magazine brought into prominence by the late Catholic convert, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. While my research was on an entirely different subject, I stumbled upon the following entry in Fr. Neuhaus’ signature column “The Public Square,” which I thought I would share. Since Rick Santorum is no longer a presidential candidate, I thought I could affirm his heroic pro-life stance in this episdode independent of political considerations. Here is what Fr. Neuhaus wrote:

In Letters to Gabriel (Briefly Noted, October), Karen Garver Santorum includes a moment that should not be forgotten. In the Senate her husband Rick Santorum was in 1997 leading the fight on behalf of a ban on partial-birth abortion. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, in opposition, thanked the women who had had such abortions for coming forward with their stories and declared, “They are crying. They are crying because they do not understand how Senators could take away an option. They are crying because they do not believe that those Senators truly understand what this meant for their families.”

Santorum said in response, “The Senator said she hears the cries of the women outside this Chamber. We would be deafened by the cries of the children who are not here to cry because of this procedure.”

The Washington Post described what happened next: “Republican Sen. Rick Santorum turned to face the opposition and in a high, pleading voice cried out, ‘Where do we draw the line? Some people have likened this procedure to an appendectomy. That’s not an appendix,’ he shouted, pointing to a drawing of a fetus. ‘That is not a blob of tissue. It is a baby. It’s a baby.’ And then, impossibly, in an already hushed gallery, in one of those moments when the floor of the Senate looks like a stage set, with its small wooden desks somehow too small for the matters at hand, the cry of a baby pierced the room, echoing across the chamber from an outside hallway. No one mentioned the cry, but for a few seconds, no one spoke at all.”