Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | rick santorum | wife | book | daughter | disabled

Santorums to Newsmax TV: Disabled Daughter Bella a 'Gift'

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 07:24 PM

The daughter that Rick and Karen Santorum feared would not live to see even one birthday is alive and thriving today, and about to turn seven, the couple told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner in an interview on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

Born with a life-threatening genetic disorder, young Isabella Santorum is also the subject of a new book, "Bella's Gift," co-written by her parents, who may re-enter presidential politics three years after Bella's health prompted Rick Santorum to bow out.

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Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, did not reveal his political plans on "MidPoint" but did say that if he were to run again and win, Bella herself — by her very presence in public life — would be a positive message to the world.

As a candidate and an officeholder, "what you hold up to be good and proper is really important," said Santorum. "For us, Bella would be that model of how we need to be a more loving and welcoming society to all of God's children."

The story of "How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation," in the words of the book's subtitle, "Bella's Gift" is also an implicit defense of the conservative, pro-life Catholic creed embraced by Santorum in both his personal and political life.

"Everybody has some genetic abnormality — everybody, " said Santorum, adding, "the idea that by just simply cooking something up in a petri dish or in a test tube that we can eliminate certain things is a very dangerous road to go down."

Citing a favorite movie, "Gattaca," about a future society obsessed with genetic purity, he said, "That's where we end up: We end up with a very segmented society, one that tries to strive for perfection but leads to real disability."

The Santorums had already lost a child, Gabriel, just two hours after his birth in 1996. A decade later, when Karen Santorum was pregnant with Isabella, her doctors detected a rare and devastating chromosomal defect, called Trisomy 18 or Edwards Syndrome, in the unborn child.

"We were told she would live maybe a day, three at most. A month would be a miracle," Karen Santorum told Berliner. "And I'm so happy to tell you that in three months, we'll be celebrating her seventh birthday."

The book details the challenges of raising an Edwards Syndrome child, for whom a common cold can be deadly. When Bella, the youngest of eight, was again hospitalized in April 2012, Santorum withdrew from the presidential race without competing in the GOP primary in his home state.

"Bella's Gift" is also about the rewards of unconditional love.

"I wouldn't trade Bella for anything in the world," said Karen Santorum. "We miss so much when we don't accept these children into our lives because they bring a lot of joy and they teach us so much. It's a big concern because once we start deciding who can and cannot live, we're all doomed, aren't we?"

Asked what she would say to other parents of Edwards Syndrome kids, she said, "Hang in there and things get better. It may be a challenge, but sometimes, what you think may be your biggest burdens end up being your greatest gifts and blessings."

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The daughter that Rick and Karen Santorum feared would not live to see even one birthday is alive and thriving today, and about to turn seven, the couple told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner in an interview on Newsmax TV Tuesday.
rick santorum, wife, book, daughter, disabled
670
2015-24-17
Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 07:24 PM
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