I am not someone who follows the US elections with a passion and observation of the detail. However, I was at lunch with some colleagues this week and one of them expressed their concern at Rick Santorum, apart from the name I knew little of him so having had my antennae raised I have listened and read when his name has appeared.
I don’t support his conservative approach to many issues but I read with interest and article in Time March 5, 2012 by Joe Klein ‘Rich Santorum’s Inconvenient Trust’s and I would agree with Klein that Santorum is talking about issues that so often we seek to avoid and especially Politian’s. The article talks specifically about our desire for choice. Choice drives many issues today – choice in education, choice in health and of cause choice in life and death.
Santorum has a daughter who has a genetic disorder which means that she will die early and the article states that nearly 90% of all such children in the US would have been aborted – this is along with his faith drives Santorum to talk about the difficult issue of abortion.
I would suspect that I would describe my approach to this issue as pro choice rather than pro live although if it were a continuum I would be somewhere along it moving towards pro life when it relates to my choice and then enabling choice when it related to others – if that makes any sense.
When talking about choice, related to any topic, we often fail to discuss the impact of our choice on others and to the reality that in society it is related to the avoidance of personal inconvenience.
‘All right, I can hear you saying, the Santorum family’s course may be admirable, but shouldn’t we have the right to makes our own choice? Yes, I suppose. But I also worry that we’ve become too averse to personal inconvenience as a society – that we’re less rigorous parents than w e should be, that we’ve farmed out our responsibilities, especially for the disabled, to the state – and I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about moral implications f his daughter’s smile.’
So am I.
My three year old daughter, Faith, also has Trisomy 18. She is a joy to our four other children and we go crazy over each and every one of her accomplishments. Her patience, ability to love, and appreciate everyone in our family has made her the one we all go to for a smile or kiss. People often ask the very sterile question, “What about your daughters quality of life?” Faith is loved, cared for, and wanted by our entire family, which for many people is enviable. She is joyful, sweet, and keeps a rhythm to music better than most people. I put all this to simply say she is a blessing from God. By the way, Senator Santorum was the first parent we met with a living child with Trisomy 18. We went to a dinner he was speaking at in 2010 and he spent most of the time talking with us and holding our daughter Faith. He even gave me his phone to call his wife while he was speaking to find out what medical equipment they used at home. A few months later our daughter was doing very poorly and he gave us medical advice that saved Faith’s life. We are extremely grateful for his stance on life, it did not just save his daughter Bella’s life, but our daughters as well.