Rick Santorum and the “dead baby” story: Is it sad, sick, or a twist of both?

I started skimming headlines today and noticed that an above average number of people were talking about Rick Santorum. (Some may contribute this to the “Santorum Surge” but I know better than to believe that). My eyes read over the words “dead baby” and I did a double take.

Unlike many that I know involved in politics, I’m in my twenties. I know plenty about the candidates that I like, but very little about the past of the politicians I consider below my radar. Rick Santorum is one of those I had considered below my radar. I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t know everything but I can do a Google search.

So, I decided to find out more about the “dead baby” that I was reading about.

Rick Santorum has 6 children. He had 7, but one, Gabriel Michael, was born prematurely at 20 weeks. The baby lived for 2 hours outside of the womb and then died. Rick and his wife Karen decided to take Gabriel Michael home instead of to a funeral home.

“Upon their son’s death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen’s parents’ home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.”

He and Karen brought Gabriel’s body home so their children could “absorb and understand that they had a brother,” Santorum says. “We wanted them to see that he was real,” not an abstraction, he says. Not a “fetus,” either, as Rick and Karen were appalled to see him described — “a 20-week-old fetus” — on a hospital form. They changed the form to read “20-week-old baby.”

Although I personally think that his toddlers may not have understood the lesson Rick Santorum was trying to teach them, I think that I can understand why he and his wife chose this action. It must be difficult to lose a child. I think that unless you have lost a child, this is probably not the issue you should use to attack Rick Santorum. We all face grief differently. I think this action was unorthodox, and it is not behavior I think I would partake in, but again, I have never lost a child.

I would prefer to attack Rick Santorum on the issues. He supports the Patriot Act, that’s a great place to start. Check out where he stands on the issues (I really like this New Hampshire 9/12 guide), pick an issue, and start there!

I realize, though, that many people may want to share how they feel about the “dead baby” story though. What do you think? Sick? Sad? Or both?

Alan Colmes brought this up today again:

 And then there is this little known tidbit: “I’m a pretty tolerant guy, but beyond his ideology, some of Santorum’s behavior is just a little bizarre. For example, Santorum has six children. In 1996, he had son born prematurely who lived for only two hours. He and wife brought the child home and introduced the dead infant to the rest of their children as ‘your brother Gabriel’ and slept with the body overnight.”

 Watch this fiery exchange, and afterward, let us know if whether you think Colmes took his remarks too far, or if he had a valid point

10 thoughts on “Rick Santorum and the “dead baby” story: Is it sad, sick, or a twist of both?

  1. Im from Ireland…..when I was growing up relatives that had passed were kept in the family home for approx 2 days where there was a “wake”………I remember my sister tellling me that she wrapped my mom in a blanket because she was cold to the touch……I remember touching my dead relatives but never kissing or playing with them. That is really unacceptable and to expose small children to their deceased baby brother, well, what were they thinking. To this day I still remember being held up to touch a dead relative, because we were told we would never have nightmares….wrong……..I have never forgotten that experience. To this day caskets scare me even though I was widowed at 37 and had to touch my young husband I have never forgotten that.

  2. with santorum, it’s always been a terrible tug-of-war between the hilarious, the creepy and the evil. dan savage’s santorum meme has done much to make the case for hilarious, but the creepy and the evil are so very strong with ole former senator rick.

  3. I just wanted to leave a reply… also been researching this. Here are the facts for you and the opinion of a mom who’s been thru the same thing. In 96, Karen was 20 weeks. She got very sick w/ a very high fever and had to have medication. They didn’t know for a fact that it would put her into labor but they were properly informed that it just might. It did. She delivered the baby and he lived for two hours. He was too tiny for medical intervention. 24 weeks is the earliest most survive, due to their tiny veins and premature lungs, though some are starting to make it at 21 and 22 weeks now as medical advances improve. (it used to be 30 weeks, we’ve come a long way)

    Also in 96, I was 22 weeks. I was told my baby had died in utero. I had lost the placenta at home. They told me I could have a D&C or be induced. There was no way I’d have a “post mortem abortion”, I wanted to see him, hold him, name him and give him a proper burial because he was a person. labor was awful and painful. I had plenty of drugs!! Boy was he cute! He had my nose and a little hair. You could see his heart, and he fit in the palm of my hand w/ his legs dangling over. So tiny!! But he was a real person who had just been kicking inside me and he got a name.

    Each family faces these kinds of medical emergencies differently and very personally. The Santorums chose to take their preemie home. I disagree w/ that, and would never do that. My kids were 4 and 2 then and I did not let them see him, but they were told about him. Later they saw his photo. I won’t judge them for their decision. Parents do things differently each time. Imagine this… many moms choose to toss out their stillborns as medical waste and never see them. Who’s to say their choice is wrong either? I don’t agree w/ it but that’s their choice. Remember the mom who got shunned for throwing confetti at her two son’s graves on their birthday? Only parents who’ve lost children “get” why bereaved parents do “crazy” things. Some moms create a “Shrine” to their baby or child at home because they have to see them constantly… and some put every pic and possession away because they can’t stand to look at them. Sometimes the baby’s intended room is locked up for a while and then everything gotten rid of, and sometimes a mom will find her best way of coping is to sleep in the crib for a while and everything is kept as keepsakes… for a while after I lost mine, how I coped was I made him a little website where I told my story and I became the editor of a local parental bereavement group newsletter. I kept his baby book accessible and after a while it got put away. That was my therapy. We cannot judge cuz we weren’t there ok? That’s all I’m saying. Thank you.

  4. Oh and Colmes, who is an asswipe moron, apologized for his stupid, insensitive remarks and his apology was accepted by the Santorums, because they said people just don’t UNDERSTAND why bereaved parents do some of the things they do. We don’t even know at the time…. they may accept Colmes’ apology, but he’s still an asswipe moron…..

  5. I am not new to grief, i have lost many, but never would I ever consider taking the remains home to kiss and allow my children to touch and caress a dead body. I think this IS ILLEGAL, ABUSE OF A CORPSE, CHILD ABUSE AND TOTALLY REPULSIVE. Furthermore, the institution that allowed a body to leave the premises for this purpose should be investigated. Would I be allowed to take my dead baby home with ME? Not that I would ever want to, WHY was this allowed? What if my grandpa passes away and I want to take him home and put him in his rocking chair ONE MORE TIME so I can sit in his lap and pretend he is telling me a story? Would that be OK?

  6. We all grieve in our own way. I lost our son at 18wks and got to hold him in the hospital. He felt real to me because he was. I wouldn’t have been able to take him home though. Just couldn’t bring myself to do any more than hold him for a brief moment. Furthermore, I don’t think the hospital would even allow such a thing. Please don’t judge people for how they try to handle their losses. Even if it seems wrong to others it was what they felt they needed to do. God forbid anyone looses their child no matter what stage of development they are in.

  7. i had a stillbirth baby and lost her at 35 weeks, we named her Krystal and she was very beautiful. I totally understand why they would of done what they did and where they are coming from, i wish i could of held her forever. We all handle the situation in our own ways. God Bless. You will forever be in our hearts baby girl..precious little angel Mommy and daddy will always love you xo

  8. An Angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. And whispered as she closes the book ” too beautiful for earth” R.I.P Baby Krystal Jan 1st 2012

  9. The only thing sick here is others prying into private heartwrending grief of a hurting family. Different locals have their own ways of grieving their lost loved ones. Southerners are a more hands on group. I washed ;set ;and combed my mothers waist long hair when she passed. I did it every week and this was no different to me. I talked to her and stroked her face and told her she was beautiful and that when the time came Id see her again. As a small child a family members child died. We went to their cabin and sat the night with the parents as they held and rocked their baby. We sang hymns and huddled round the fire drawing strength from each other. Some 50 years later my niece lost her child. No one knew what to do really. So I wrapped the baby up In the nursery and sat in a rocker and rocked him kissing his beautiful face. It broke the tension and his grandparents and family held him and loved him. How dare any to critize such unselfish acts of love!! It sure beats tossing them in garabge cans like the “inlightened” abortionists do! Some people just don’t know anything about common decency and love anymore. Its so sad.

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