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Rick Santorum announced his candidacy for president of the United States today, joining the rush of anti-women’s health politicians clawing toward the GOP nomination. What’s clear is that Rick Santorum has made a name for himself as a relentless opponent of women’s health care, with FOX News reporting during the 2012 election that he’s “about as far right on the issue [abortion] as a GOP candidate can get.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Rick Santorum has been pretty clear about his intentions for women’s health: ban safe and legal abortion, restrict access to affordable birth control, and prevent women from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers for high-quality, affordable and compassionate preventive health care. What’s clear is that this agenda is deeply out of touch with the American public who want their elected officials to move forward on women’s health, not backward.”  

Rick Santorum’s positions on women’s health:

  • Rick Santorum wants to ban safe, legal abortion with no exceptions and criminalize doctors who perform abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
  • Rick Santorum supports extreme and dangerous personhood legislation, which would ban abortion and could interfere with access to some of the most effective forms of birth control.
  • Rick Santorum believes that states should have the right to ban birth control and has said he doesn’t think birth control works and that it is “harmful.” Rick Santorum wants to defund Planned Parenthood and cut millions of women off from lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control and other preventive care.

Impact on women in Pennsylvania:

  • In the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 57 percent higher in Pennsylvania, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 63 percent higher.
  • In Pennsylvania, the publicly funded family planning services provided at safety-net health centers in 2010 helped save $434,409,000 in public funds.
  • In 2012, 760,150 women in Pennsylvania were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act 2.5 million women now have access without a copay.
  • In 2013, Planned Parenthood health centers located in Pennsylvania served 108,325 patients, with 41 percent of health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide.
    • Provided 82,246 patients with birth control services
    • Performed 17,965 breast exams
    • Conducted 66,190 tests for chlamydia — a leading cause of preventable infertility — that resulted in 4,264 positive results and follow-up treatment.

In Rick Santorum’s own words:

  • Rick Santorum has said he would act on his very first day in office to legislate against women’s health care. “We would have the most aggressive position to protect life of any president in history and I’d be very proud to do that on day 1 of my administration,” he said.  [YouTube, Personhood USA Presidential ProLife Forum, 12/28/11]
  • At an anti-abortion event in 2011 Rick Santorum claimed credit for every extreme attack on choice that passed the Senate in the last 20 years, boasting “I've been in the foxhole on the front line.”  [Los Angeles Times, 12/14/2011]
  • On NBC’s Meet the Press, Rick Santorum was asked if he believed in any exceptions for abortion, like in case of rape or incest. Santorum’s response was: “That would be taking a life, and I believe that any doctor who performs an abortion, I would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.” [Think Progress, 6/12/11]
     
  • In a 2005 interview, when asked about his position on birth control Rick Santorum said, “I don't think it works. I think it's harmful to women. I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated.” [YouTube, 8/27/06]

About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

You can view the Action Fund’s statement welcoming Hillary Rodham Clinton to the presidential field here: plannedparenthoodaction.org/elections-politics/newsroom/press-releases/planned-parenthood-action-fund-welcomes-hillary-rodham-clinton-presidential-field/

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].