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Confronted by blogger, Santorum fails to differentiate between little girl, dish of cells

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A former Republican Senator considered to be a candidate for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination was recently confronted by a blogger with a perplexing question: Being pro-life, if you found yourself in a fertility clinic that was burning down, and you had a choice between saving a 2-year-old girl or a petri dish of five fertilized eggs, what would you do?

Rick Santorum, an employee of the Republican Fox News Channel and former US Senator from Pennsylvania, didn’t seem too sure.

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“I’d try to rescue as many as those children as possible,” he told blogger Mike Stark while filling in as a guest host for a Friday broadcast of the Bill Bennett radio talk show “Morning in America.”

Santorum dismissed the question as “a false choice,” claiming later in the conversation that if put in such a situation, he would instead “save all human life.”

Stark was quick to object at Santorum characterizing his hypothetical question as “false.”

“It’s an instructive question,” he retorted.

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Santorum further explained that while he thinks fertility clinics are a moral outrage: “There are lots of things that I think are wrong that don’t need to have laws against it.”

“That’s how I feel about it,” he said. “We shouldn’t have that choice [between a girl and a dish of embryos in a burning building], number one. If we do have that choice, the choice is to save all human life and to value all human life.”

“I’m disappointed that he can’t see the moral difference between one child and five children, or that he can’t admit that’s not really what’s going on here,” Stark told Raw Story. “There is a difference between a live child with human attachments and a live group of cells in a petri dish.”

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“It seems like the entire debate is so dishonest, ” he continued. “It was at least gratifying in one respect that he did come out and say he believes fertility clinics are wrong.”

“I’m puzzled that he wouldn’t want to ban [fertility clinics],” Stark concluded. “If he wants to make abortion illegal, why not fertility clinics? Every day they discard wanted clusters of cells, just like abortion clinics.”

The comments come on the heels of a controversy Santorum stirred up while speaking to the right-wing CNS News, where he claimed that President Barack Obama’s pro-choice stance on abortion was “almost remarkable for a black man”.

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“The question is — and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the Constitution?” he said. “And Barack Obama says no. Well if that human life is not a person, then, I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'”

Appearing on his employer’s television channel last night, Santorum tried to frame his remarks as “a historical fact about the way the Constitution was interpreted,” instead of a racially-motivated smear.

The former number three Republican in the Senate, was generally not considered to be a front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2012 nomination. Despite the long odds, Santorum said recently that he felt his candidacy had been “underestimated” by his peers and the media.

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“If you beat expectations, you go to the next place on the game board,” he told The Hill. “I can tell you, I wouldn’t still be doing this if I wasn’t encouraged by the reception we’ve been getting.”

This audio is from blogger Mike Stark, taken from a broadcast of Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” on Friday, Jan. 21, 2010.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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