Santorum calls for cuts to federal abortion spending


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Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in Coralville Sunday he wants to end federal funding for organizations that perform abortions.

During a stop at Tabernacle Baptist Church, he described abortions knowns medically as intact dilation & extraction as "horrific" and compared the procedure to an execution.

"[The abortion] is an inhumanity that should not occur in this country," the Iowa caucus candidate said. "[Tax dollars] should not be used for things that are morally objectionable."

According to last year's Planned Parenthood annual report, the federal government supplies $7.9 million to the program under Title X. Two percent — roughly $158,000 — of those funds go directly to abortion services in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger.

As a senator, Santorum also wrote legislation outlawing intact dilation & extraction and led the passing of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Though some may not necessarily agree with Santorum's proposal to make abortion illegal, University of Iowa economist Patrick Barron said many don't believe the services should be supported by tax dollars.

"It's a duty of the government to protect life, liberty, and property," he said. "Any taxation the government does beyond that in order to spend money for lifestyle issues, such as Planned Parenthood, means people have money taken and spent in ways we wouldn't normally do."

According to a July 2011 Gallup poll, more than half of Republicans were in support of banning federal funds for abortion providers.

Barron said legislation to eliminate federal abortion funding could earn support in Congress.

"It might pass," he said. "I think that there's a good chance that the nation probably would [support cuts]. Anecdotally, most people feel that abortion should not be made illegal, but they also say we should not support abortion with tax dollars."

Others said slashes to organizations similar to Planned Parenthood could be detrimental to the economy.

Christina Carberry, the president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at the University of Iowa, argued such organizations should receive more funding in order to boost job creation.

"I think it's unfortunate that the Republican candidates choose to focus on choosing a right that women have been given as opposed to talking about other major issues in our country like the economy," Carberry said. "… we need more funding for Planned Parenthood so it can create jobs for people."

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