Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, was heralded on Thursday as a “truly tender warrior” for the anti-abortion movement.
Marjorie Dannensfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, praised the couple for how they dealt with the 1996 death of their son, Gabriel, who was born prematurely and lived for only two hours.
The couple refused to let the morgue take Gabriel from them, instead sleeping at the hospital with the child’s body between them. They then took the body home and introduced Gabriel to the three children they had at the time.
Dannenfelser likened the experience to a “viewing,” adding that the older kids were waiting for Gabriel to be brought home and needed a quick closure to his death.
“They did it in a way that was beautiful,” Dannenfelser told The Daily Beast
Rick Santorum has never shied away from that painful part of his life or his anti-abortion stances. “It was a very difficult time in our lives,” he said. “We all go through this; it’s a part of life.”
Because Karen was a neonatal intensive care nurse, she dealt with loss on a daily basis, he said.
“One of the things she told all of us — it is so important for the family to recognize the life of that child, and for all the children to know they had a brother or a sister.”
Dannensfelser praised Karen Santorum. “She got it — that a pro-life feminist is not an oxymoron,” she told The Daily Beast.
The Santorums have six living children, including 3-year-old Bella, who suffers from a life-threatening genetic condition.
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