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Sarah Fister Gale

Sarah Fister Gale
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birthday
August 07
Bio
Sarah Fister Gale is a freelance journalist, novelist and wine-drinker based in Chicago. She is agented by the fabulous Jacquie Flynn of Joelle Delbourgo Associates who is currently seeking a good home for her novel, Losing Jenni, a story of a little girl who drowns in the Chicago River, and the amazing choice her mother makes to cope with her loss. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGale.

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 19, 2012 6:22PM

Why Rick Santorum would have killed my daughter

Rate: 94 Flag

Next month, my daughter Ella will turn 11-years-old. She’s a beautiful girl, with blond hair and green eyes. She’s an amazing artist, a brilliant writer, and she can do the splits without even warming up.

And if I hadn’t had an amniocentesis, she would have died the day she was born.

Just over 11 years ago, I received a call from my obstetrician’s assistant to let me know that there was an anomaly in my recent blood test. “It’s probably just a testing error,” she assured me.

But when I returned the following week to have the blood test redone, the anomaly showed up again. There was a foreign antibody in my blood stream that shouldn’t have been there. I was six months pregnant, and up to that point my pregnancy had been completely normal.

Rather than turning to my local politician for prenatal advice, I followed the guidance of my obstetrician, who sent me to a perinatologist, who recommended I have an amniocentesis. Because he had a medical degree and years of experience treating pregnant women, I followed his recommendation.

That day, he stuck an alarmingly long needle directly into my growing belly to sample the amniotic fluid around my baby. The results weren’t good. She had Rh negative disease.

Baby Ella 

Rh negative disease occurs when a mother has a negative blood type and a baby has a positive blood type. My negative blood perceived Ella’s positive blood as a foreign body that it needed to destroy. And that’s what it was doing. Every day, little by little, my body was wiping out every one of her red blood cells.

Before the 1960s, Rh negative disease was responsible for the deaths of thousands of babies whose mothers, like me, had negative blood. They usually carried their babies to term and gave birth to them, only to have them die or suffer extreme brain damage as a result of the anemia and jaundice that occurs with this illness.

In the 60s, a drug called RhoGAM was approved by the FDA to prevent this disease, and it has since saved hundreds of thousands of lives. In almost every case when it is administered in time it is effective. But in my case, it wasn’t.

Amniocentesis is the recommended test to diagnose this disease, and it enables doctors to define a  course of action to treat and monitor these babies for the best possible medical outcome. Had I not had that amniocentesis I likely would not have discovered that she had this illness. I would have carried her to term, given birth to her, and watched her die in my arms.

Instead, thanks to the amniocentesis, my doctor tracked her progress relentlessly. Every week after that I had another (expensive) prenatal screening test, called a serial ultrasound, through which he was able to monitor the anemia that grew steadily worse as more of her blood cells were destroyed -- and track the development of her lungs so that she could be delivered at the best possible moment for her safety. The day he saw that her lungs could function on their own, he delivered her.

Ella was born four weeks premature, a tiny five-pound bag of bones, with bright yellow hair and eerily orange skin from the jaundice. Within hours of her birth she was given a full blood transfusion – they replaced every single drop of her damaged blood with new blood that would save her life. Then she spent the next five days in the NICU with cotton blinders taped over her eyes and five bilirubin lights shining on her to reduce the jaundice, while my husband and I took turns sitting at her side round the clock, watching her struggle to survive.

For months after she came home, she had to have weekly blood tests to make sure the anemia was in control. They had to draw the blood from her heel because her fingers were too tiny to prick. Finally, at three months her own defenses kicked in and she started producing her own red blood cells.

Happily, she made a full recovery and has no lingering effects from the disease. And it’s all thanks to that one medical test.

If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and she most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong. Though he has no medical training, and no business commenting on the medical decisions that women and their doctors make, he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on “moral grounds.”

Eleven years ago,  my husband and I had two kids and a mortgage, and like most young families we didn’t have $2,000 to pay for a test that my husband’s employer might object to on moral grounds.

So, while Mr. Santorum may think that his blowhard opinions about when and where women should be allowed to have medical tests is righteous, I say it’s ignorance.

In the Catholic church where I was raised, pride, arrogance and an overinflated sense of oneself were considered sins. But in Rick Santorum’s world they are virtues, and they make up the foundation from which he proclaims how other people should live their lives.

When I read stories in the news about countries where women are prevented access to birth control, or the freedom to work, or the right to make choices about their bodies and their lives, I wonder how a leadership with such crazy ideals could ever gain power. But as I look at what’s happening in the debates leading up to this presidential election in our own country, it has become chillingly evident.

As a nation, we are at the precipice of a slippery slope where men in power are arguing about how to take basic rights away from women.  I shudder to think what lays at the bottom of that slope, but if Rick Santorum has his way we will all soon find out.

 

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Excellent writing on an important subject.
What an amazing story, and I'm so glad it has a happy ending for you and your daughter. WHEN did politicians start deciding they could make our medical decisions for us? It's appalling that even some women seem to agree that it's best to hand over control of their bodies to men in power. Santorum and his ilk may cloak their intentions in pretty language, but we can't afford to be fooled. They want to control women, plain and simple.
Thank you for sharing your story, this and others like it are key ammo against the GOP's war on women.

Now if only someone would remind Rick and his ilk that he came out of a woman, so maybe he should show that gender more respect!
I am glad she is here, alive, and well. I can't say more about Santorum, he is a special brand of evil masquerading as a person of faith. I'm excited to go to the Planned Parenthood fundraising lunch in a few weeks, I am sure a story such as yours is the reason why they remain so strong.
Could you cite a source for what you say Mr. Santorum says? I would appreciate it. I'm not saying you are wrong - but I am saying that I have a hard time believing that Santorum opposes pre-birth tests having to do with the health of a baby. I wonder if this is a factoid?
I found this from USA Today. It is rather different from what you are saying. (Again, maybe you are correct, but it is not what is, for example, being said below. The comments below refer to PAYMENT for testing, SOME prenatal tests, and testing for Down Syndrome. But most important, the discussion was - and I ain't saying he is right - about funding.)

From the article:
•Objected to including some prenatal tests in federal insurance mandates, saying the tests lead to more abortions.

"A lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions," he said. "We know that 90% of Down syndrome children in America are aborted." At a campaign event over the weekend in Columbus, Ohio, he said the tests effectively "cull the ranks of the disabled in our society."
I'm thankful your daughter survived and that she is such a source of joy to you and her father.

Denying rights, especially medical care to anyone and then to appeal to "moral" reasons is incredibly immoral. If the GOP insists on making Santorum their nominee, then I hope he crashes and burns irreparably in the eyes of every thinking voter in this nation. One good thing about all this blatant nonsense on the Right; they have been exposed as the Demagogues that they truly are. Once a danger is in plain sight, it becomes easier to fight.

rated
From Feb. 19th on Face the Nation, Santorum said,

"The bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions,” Santorum said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said he was talking specifically about some, but not all, prenatal testing, and not about prenatal care in general. He said “there are all sorts of prenatal testing which should be provided free,” such as sonograms.

Santorum, whose young daughter Bella has the genetic disorder Trisomy 18 and was recently hospitalized, singled out amniocentesis, a procedure in which amniotic fluid is extracted to examine chromosomes and check for birth defects, as a form of testing that insurance companies should not be required to cover.

“Amniocentesis does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions,” Santorum said. “That is a fact.”

He said that people have the right to have prenatal testing done, “but to have the government force people to provide it free, to me, is a bit loaded.”
you can't protect your own child by denying other parents the right to protect theirs
We are watching the slippery slope in the abortion issue, as an example. States started the restriction ride first with parental consent, then waiting periods, then ultrasounds, now Virginia wants to force intravaginal ultrasounds. And we have hospitals already that won't help in miscarriages because a D&C is used in abortions. We have people wanting to force poor women to carry dead babies to term because the "public" shouldn't have to pay for it. If we start agreeing that prenatal testing is a slippery slope to abortion when it is, in fact, necessary to the health of parents and children, then we are again on a path to control women's reproduction.

What some don't understand is that the real cost of backsliding is way more than the few dollars involved in keeping women and children healthy. Subjugating the majority of your population is a huge task to undertake which drags the whole society down.
Yes, he would have let her die.

But then, he would have played with her after she was dead.

He is one sick mo-fo.

(BTW: his wife used to shack up with an abortion doctor before she married Sickey-Rickey.)
I'm convinced that all women at risk of a chromosomal abnormality should have amnio. I'm sure it's far easier to deal with the tragedy of learning your child is handicapped before birth, so when the child born, the parents are ready and informed, not dealing with shock of discovery that their child will never be normal at the same time they are recovering from labor and dealing with midnight feedings and the exhaustion that comes with a newborn.

But, that being said, I don't see a whole lot of government support for the handicapped. My brother was on waiting lists for housing for over 5 years and the housing he got is far from ideal. He'd be better off with some supervision, but he wasn't eligible for that. He's been profoundly handicapped all his life, but he didn't fit into any of the right categories.

When my parents are gone, my sibs and I will have to fill the breach, and I don't mean just in terms of family, but in terms of the substantial and continual work of advocacy and supervision that keeps him functioning. For example, when his rent goes up, how is he going to meet it? This isn't going to be easy, given that I live on a different continent.

Would I bring a child into the world, knowing that his care after my death will be the burden of his siblings? Absolutely not.

But, hey, Rick, if you improved gov't services for the handicapped, so every parent could be sure that their handicapped child would be cared for, maybe that would change.
I'm very happy for you and your daughter
Not a chance that Mr Santorum would celebrate a death
There is no war on women from the GOP or otherwise ( unless we get sharia law here )
Y'all need to recognize evil
And you need to recognize a smokescreen ( talk about anything but the economy ) when one comes at you
You're sheep
There is much madness in the US that stories like yours counteract. Thank you for telling it.
It is bad enough when insurance companies dictate medical procedures -- you know, insurance company executives, the same people who switched from pre-med to business because of bad grades -- but it is so much worse when a person like santorum who confuses his random thoughts with theology and his absolute ignorance with science proscribes medical procedures. Oh, and what is the relation of santorum's musings and forbiddings to government? Sounds like ricky likes his government big. Where is he? I want to tell this to his face.
Excellent writing which brings some of Santorum's views into sharp focus. I hope a lot of people have the opportunity to read this because too few seem to realize the extremes of his positions. Well done.
I am so glad your story had a happy ending, and agree with your comments about Rick Santorum. Though I have to admit that in this day and age and knowledge about the Rh factor that your doctor would have allowed this to happen. Most doctors I know address this issue at the first prenatal visit. The was the case with my pregancy and my son turns 26 this year.
I'm sorry, but I have looked more at this and there appears to be no truth to your story. You are probably a super person, but there is no intellectual honesty here for two reasons: One, he is not denying anyone these tests. He IS questioning if they should be paid for by the government insurance plan that most liberals (so-called) wanted passed by President Obama. Two, he is also not denying anyone birth control. He has explained that for his family, PERSONALLY, he stands by his religious beliefs on this issue, would not deny birth control to anyone, but DOES - as do some liberal lawyers and law professors - believe the Griswald case was wrongly decided and that, flowing from that, Roe v. Wade was as well.

And to the less-than-compassionate person who claimed he "played" with his dead baby, he did not. He brought it home until burial. Do you think the Kennedys were nuts for having JBK in her home until her burial? It is a rather Catholic tradition - one done in Italian and Irish homes rather often for example - are all of these folks nuts?
From February 12, 2012 Washington Post. Santorum on Birth Control. Please note he is not stopping or suggesting anyone stop people from the right to same.

Santorum: Well, I — what I’ve talked about it with respect is my Catholic faith, which, you know, I, I agree with the Catholic Church on the issue of contraception. But as you know, I mean, I — that’s, that’s a different position than I have with respect to public policy. You know, public policy, women should have access to contraception. I have no problem with that at all. The question is whether some religious organization should be forced to pay for something that they believe is a moral wrong, and the issue is — the answer to that is no. And under the Obama administration policy, they are continuing to be forced to do so.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
My grandmother lost two children because of Rh negative disease. I'm proud of you that you partnered with your physician and made brave choices (that needle can't have been fun). Rick Santorum and his agenda make me absolutely sick.
As early as high school, maybe even 7th or 8th grade, I can remember discussions of hypothetical ethical questions like "Is abortion right if the fetus has no chance of life?" or "Does the situation change if there's a disability that will result in death by age 5? Age 40?" Much of the time people don't include practical knowledge of how medicine works or how pregnancies actually progress. The opinions come from entrenched beliefs and emotional reactions to abortion.

I have never, ever heard anyone advocate for the denial of a medical procedure at the systemic level because it might result in an abortion. Other than, of course, people wanting to ban the medical procedure of abortion, itself.

The question might come up of which tests a person should or shouldn't get and in which situations. But I have never heard anyone advocate that an outside party, beyond the patient and her doctors and family, should influence the decisions of what tests to do and when because of that outside party's moral beliefs.
Just to be clear, Barbara Joanne, this is what the original article actually says:
"he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on “moral grounds.”"

"Eleven years ago, my husband and I had two kids and a mortgage, and like most young families we didn’t have $2,000 to pay for a test that my husband’s employer might object to on moral grounds. "

If you wish to make the claim that someone said something you feel is inaccurate, it's best that you verify they did, in fact, say that. In this case, you are demonstrably incorrect.

None of which gets into the fact that the mandate as it stands does not ask for any monetary payment from religious institutions, nor that over 20 states already had laws like this on their books with no complaints.

Further, would you suggest that Jehovah's Witnesses as employers should be allowed exemption from funds for blood transfusions, which they oppose on moral grounds? If not, why is that an exception? It is truly a moral opposition on their part, so it should be the same principle. And to that end--when do we stop making exceptions for medical care that could be necessary for any person's well-being, because someone doesn't think they should pay for it? Why is their conscience/money more important than someone else's life or well-being?
Continuing... The position Rick Santorum is advocating is not the same line of argument against forcing people to somehow cause abortions that they don't support, like not allowing federal funds to go towards abortions. This really is extremely logically distant and disconnected.

He treats prenatal genetic testing for fatal or seriously disabling conditions, and the means for it (amniocentesis, which is also necessary to find curable conditions) as if it's akin to cosmetic surgery. His tone is as if it's only wanted by people with frivolous or superficial concerns. I have never heard a serious adult considering the value of prenatal genetic testing treat the *tests* themselves as basically a luxury expense.

Rick Santorum has a daughter with a seriously disabling conditon that will prevent her from reaching adulthood. It's not fair that he and his wife had to deal with all of these ethical dilemmas for their daughter. It's also not fair that they had to deal with them 15 years ago in another situation on the opposite side of the "prenatal dilemma spectrum" (that I'm coining right now).

Because of prenatal testing and financial resources, he and his wife were informed of a fatal deformity and were able to attempt an intervention. The surgery lead to a likely complication and his wife lost the baby. It is stunning that he has so little sympathy for other adults forced into the *exact same* situations that he and his wife have had to face. His wife could have died in her efforts to preserve a pregnancy. He seems to expect that level of sacrifice as the minimum from other people in this country. If you have other priorities, you should be punished because he (and at least one person in the chain of command at your workplace) disagrees.
Medical treatment and testing that saves lives should not be reserved only for those who can afford to "go private", pick and choose their jobs at will or are employed by the federal government.

Medical research and the advancements it brings are aimed at ultimately curing or repairing problems, the kind of problems that will kill or greatly damage those whose suffer from them.

19 years ago I held my twin sons Matthew and Christopher in my arms as they died. They were born three months premature. Medical testing and technology had not advanced enough to detect the severity of the problem or to solve it.

What some "undefined person" might have used to decide to have an abortion is for me knowledge and testing that might have saved Matthew and Christopher.

So to Mr. Santorum and the rest of the crew on the hill who decided that women shouldn’t be part of discussion on women’s health care and that they knew better, I ask you:

How will you feel when your dead child, or your dead grand-child or your dead great-grand-child is lying in your arms?

How will you explain to your wife, or your daughter or your grand-daughter that their child has to die because you were afraid of what some undefined, unknown person would do?

To you, Sarah, I say: Enjoy your daughter. She is beautiful and looks very much to be as you describe her, an amazing artist and a brilliant writer.
Yes, Porky, he says companies should be able to opt out of paying for such testing. This is NOT the same as saying, as he does not, that people should not be free to have such testing. And, in my view, the author here implies - the headline even says - that he would "have killed" her daughter. There is no, none, nada, supporting evidence for this and it appears to be untrue. He said nothing that indicates such tests should be illegal or not allowed in some way. He is, as you said, talking about payment. That is not at all what this author is saying he said. Or rather, what she is implying he said. The blog does not appear to be intellectually honest. It is saying something about Santorum that it not true. That is, the dishonesty, my beef. Thank you for clarifying he was talking about PAYMENT.
Porky, I understand that the author too talks about payment, but the headline, which I assume she wrote, is about how Santorum would have let her child die. Saying that people can opt out of paying for something - as Santorum did - does not equate to letting a baby die. The author is very confused or, deliberately (?), conflating a desire to not force people to pay with a belief, which Santorum has not given, to not ALLOWING people to have these tests and pay for them via other means.

By the way, I think people should be, and are, to have all the tests they want.
I had RhoGAM shots with both my children for the exact same reasons. Fortunately, mine worked. I'm glad that your daughter's case was caught through the test, and she is alive and thriving.

What I'm seeing more frequently in this entire argument is that the issue that Rick Santorum seems to be a lightning rod for is: What should the government pay for, and what should the government force, via law, what companies should pay for in a supposed free market economy. (Which, let's be honest, we don't really have.)

I've seen many arguments about how creating such a law - what insurance companies and organizations need to cover as part of health care reform - is trampling the constitution.

Bull. Companies and organizations have absolutely done this to themselves through greed. Candidates such as Rick Santorum are catering to two groups, one overtly and one COVERTLY. Overtly the candidates are pandering to a very narrow religious fringe. Covertly they are pandering to the corporate "persons" that fund them and do not want such laws in place, so they can profit.
The author wrote, "If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and she most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong. Though he has no medical training, and no business commenting on the medical decisions that women and their doctors make, he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on 'moral grounds.'"

He has said, at least as far as I can find, no such things and has, as I've written here, said people are free and should be free to have such tests.

So the author is misleading her readers.
He has only said people should be able to opt out of PAYING for such tests on moral grounds.

This is not the same as saying people should not be allowed to have such tests.

Bye now.
I read and re-read this title several times and really think that this is really biased and unreasonable. Your hypethetically accusing Santorum of murder. I have a nephew who died of this very condition and this procedure was never done to my sister. She was healthy and under 35 so they don't require it than. I really think you should be counting your blessings instead of trying to twist your good fortune into something it wasn't. I'm sure my sister would gladly pay $2000 dollars or more to have her first child back. If a doctor told me I had to have a life saving procedure whether it was covered or not I get it done and worry about the payment later. My sister subsequently had two kids, she had to have blood transfusions for most of her pregnacies.
To Ms. Joanne.
You made your point with your first post. The frequency and length of your subsequent posts demonstrate that you have some other agenda going here. Most thinking people have determined that you are either a paid political operative or someone with a terrible obsession. No need to reply to this. We know already what you think.
As I read the comments here the one theme that I read is people reject the argument that an employer may select insurance coverage that does not include payment for some medical procedures.

Well get use to it. As Obamacare and their "ethic panels" come out with what they think should be done to, or for, a person that's exactly what you are going to have. If you are under 15 then you have not contributed enough to society and if you are over 70 then you don't have enough to give. These people don't even refer to you as people but as "units" because once you become people then it changes the debate amount us that are being controlled by them.

So the subject doesn't become who will pay it will become can I have it done at all because once the "ethics panel" makes their decision there is no going around it and paying for it yourself, you're doomed.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am so happy that your beautiful daughter is here and doing so well! This man Santorum is so very dangerous in so many ways ! You prove beyond a doubt that he clearly knows nothing about the real reasons why this test is used. I often wonder as I listen to his words if the table is turned on him and one of his daughters would need one of these tests in the future will he be able to stand and preach at her the reasons that she should not do this? Yes I truly believe he would!
Those of you that are commenting on the issue of payment are missing an important point. Many.I dare say most..who have insurance depend on it to actually pay for care that their doctor recommends. How nice that some can afford to pay for tests and services that are not covered. But, as the writer pointed out, se would have not been able to afford it. The tests are not "free"..simply covered services for those who "pay" for insurance. No individual should be able to decide what another receives based on their moral beliefs. Do we really want to start..or continue..down that road. What if I'm morally opposed to antibiotics..or prostate exams that I as a woman will never need..or viagara provided to single men..or any form or test or treatment that is physically painful..or any drug derived from animals..the list goes on and on. Insurance should be mandated to pay for treatment deemed necessary by a patient's DOCTOR..not some self-righteous individual that thinks they are somehow the moral guardian of their employees.
I love the story, and I'm so glad for you and your daughter's health, but unfortunately this is making me more interested in what Santorum is trying to achieve, not less. I was writing him off, and now, I wonder if he really is more for separation of church and state, and that's why he's stating his personal beliefs so strongly. They say he's a master debater.
he didn't comment on its medical efficacy, just his opinion of its morality.

and, you must have been raised in a different catholic church than I was, because the arrogance, patriarchy and whatever else you mentioned were, I'm pretty sure, considered virtues in my parish.

congrats on the kid not dying. I'd never heard of that disease before, so that part was useful and interesting.
I was a child from the 60's with Rh negative and thank goodness my doctors did a full blood transfusion right after I was born. Women's health is being attacked based on someone else's morals. It appears that soon we no longer have the right to make decisions about our own body, our own children and our own life.... I am very scared for the future of women in our country. I also think it is ironic that these same men who want to control us under moral issues want to get the government out of their lives because it is too controlling.
Thank you for your well-written, thoughtful, point-of-view on this topic. I agree with you that an employer's moral position on a medical test or procedure should not affect what is covered by a health plan. It's a slippery slope: what else could they decide not to cover? Antibiotics? Blood transfusions? Rehab? CPR? These are things between a person and that person's doctor & family.

I would like to know where Rick Santorum got his facts that "99.9%" of all aminos result in abortion. I have had this discussion with friends -- not as some hypothetical strawman scenario -- but when faced with it. Amnio (other tests as well) can result in finding things out that may lead to having to make an ethical/moral decision. If that is the only reason that the test is being done, then the person having it needs to consider if it is worth the risk and judge that against his/her values. I had a friend whose doctor was concerned that her child had Down's. This friend is anti-abortion. "Will the test give you any info that will help you plan for your child? Would it make a significant difference in the pregnancy, birth or life of your child?" was the advice that I gave. Those answers, I consoled, needed to be balanced against the known risks to her pregnancy. I think most doctors would advise similarly. It is not the test itself that poses the moral/ethical dilemma; it is what one does with the information. Mr. Santorum, in my opinion, is in the wrong on this issue, and I find it difficult to believe that he is in the mainstream. But, whether or not he is, are we going to start crowd-sourcing every medical test? Take a popular vote whether something should be allowed or not? That is not how our government was designed to function -- and those on the right that claim that they are on the side of our founding fathers should go back and study their history lessons and stop pandering for a vote. Mr. Santorum has said repeatedly that he does not believe that the constitution contains a right to privacy. For a party that says they want small government, they sure seem to want a big-brother government that imposes morality on its citizens.
Were you not giving RhoGham????? I was born 30 years ago with this problem (pre-RhoGham) and I'm appalled of what you went through. Not because of your political beliefs but at the idea of what you could've been through vs what you went through! An amnio did NOTHING for you (though it's ok that you had it if it put you at ease better). All the problem was is that you have A- blood and the father has A+ blood type (that's the ONLY way your baby had RH-). If your OB discovered this, she would've given you 2 shots of RhoGham, one around mid pregnancy I believe and the other a few days before delivery. This is all you needed! This either sounds like insurance fraud at the sake of you and your child or that you are stretching the truth a bit....If everything you said is true, I would sue the HELL out of your OB for putting you through this. Minus all the details, I was born healthy 30 years ago then took a turn for the worse a week later, causing hospital admittance for a blood transfusion (there's pics of me in a NICU bed with cottonballs over my eyes...to this day, I HATE the feeling of an IV in my arm though the idea of needles don't bother me. My parents blame that on the IVs from my blood transfusion..). If you don't believe me, look up the condition online and you will find what I said to be true. I'm not a doctor and I'm sure there are extreme cases but it's simple to diagnose (if the father's blood type is unknown she would've/shoud've given you RhoGham anyway). Please don't make this political, it's not political...you should be screaming at your OB for what happened to you not at a politician who, even IF he becomes president (he won't..I'm conservative socially and economically and I don't like him) he will greatly fail to remove women's preventive healthcare from ins. co. Direct your anger where it needs to be: at your OB, the hospital, whoever was involved with this simple fix that made it a scary ordeal instead. I would be outraged if this happened to me knowing how simple it is to fix. And to all the other commentors with nasty comments: you want congress to work together? It starts with you first...it's so sad that we are friends in person and yet, we bad mouth each other when we are anonymous. It's disgusting...makes me want to vote against the hate, no matter what side the hate is spewing on. I think people need to look up the word "tolerance."
Great writing on this important subject. I too had an amnio to determine a medical decision. I was told that I could have it or not and I chose to have it even though I was frightened. I chose to do so for the health of my unborn child. Rick Santorum and his ilk was some kind of points for their experience in life. No one told him this is not about him. It is about our health and our children and their health. My daughter was born healthy and at the right time as a result of this test.
Great piece, Sarah. Thanks so much for posting.

And hey, look: Andy Richter likes it, too:

https://twitter.com/#!/Andy_Richter/status/172056476494471168
It is all about the suffering...
Not only would Santorum have caused your daughter's death, but he would have allowed, and celebrated your's and your daughter's suffering when she died. Like Job, your child's suffering would have been a "test of faith" for you...
Great writing. Women must know how important it is that we are able to make serious health decisions for ourselves and our children. It is not the government's decision, nor is it a man's decision. When Foster Friess brought up an old joke I had heard many years ago about birth control being the aspirin held between the knees, it is about society's perception that ultimately, birth, contraception, and sex is the woman's responsibility, and hardly ever the man's. So, why would the government, or religious male leaders think they know what a woman should do. Thank you for writing this article about a tough situation that fortunately turned out well for you and your beautiful daughter. Alas, there are many women who are not so fortunate.
this is an excellent article, on a difficult topic. thank you for sharing your story and i am so glad you had a good outcome.
as for the commentors, i am amazed at how many people are willing to state their opinions without a shred of medical evidence or experience. the author stated that she had her Rhogam injections, as recommended, but unfortunately for her, and her unborn child, IT DID NOT WORK. this led to an unexpected complication of her pregnancy, probably picked up at a routine prenatal ultrasound, leading her doctor, or a high risk OB specialist to suggest the amniocentesis. fortunately, they were able to help her, armed with the information and test results needed.
as for Mr. Santorum, do a bit of research, he has some extreme ideas on a number of topics. but i suppose to some reading this, those are mainstream and normal ideas. kind of makes me very scared for the future.
I'm so glad you followed your doctor's advice and have a beautiful daughter in your life. Beautifully stated, important piece. R.
So glad you followed your doctor's advice. Thank you for this important, beautifully stated piece. R.
As the father of an in vitro baby, I can assure you the "thoughts" of Kindergarten Kristians boggle my mind. Not so long ago, these same people ranted against in vitro as "playing God" -- that was before infertility became epidemic. Now they can't wait to get in line for it.

These dim-bulb hypocrites will be only to happy to line-up when stem-cell research finally succeeds in producing cures for disease and injury. Frankly, I have no use for them or their phony Christianity. I can read the Bible, too, and mine says this:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father." John 14:12

Your beautiful baby and my beautiful son are the result of miracles, miracles performed by men and women who had faith that the labors of the hands, hearts and minds would benefit others. This is to me the ultimate expression of godliness, not inquisitions and childish obedience to the superstitious beliefs of men who thousands of year's ago audaciously -- and foolishly -- presumed to read God's mind.
Those of you arguing that Rick Santorum, 'is just fine with contraception, just not for his family' have got it wrong. He has said contrary things to that in the past, including arguing that states should have the right to ban contraception: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/rick-santorum-birth-control-sodomy_n_1181291.html
@Barbara Joanne, I hate to get muddled in this debate, but I had to raise my voice. While I'm reading your posts I couldn't help but see a logical disconnect between some of the things you have written.

To clarify, let's establish Santorum's position based on the Face the Nation article that you posted: Santorum... singled out amniocentesis... as a form of testing that insurance companies should not be required to cover. “Amniocentesis does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions,” Santorum said. “That is a fact.”

So based on Santorum's own words, his position is that he is not in favor of companies being "forced" to provide for health coverage, should a pregnant woman require it.

The author of this article, S.F. Gale uses hyperbole to essentially make the claim that if Santorum were president, his policies would allow her employer to "opt-out" of paying for a treatment like amniocentesis.

Our author also claims that eleven years ago her family did not have the financial means to pay for a treatment like amniocentesis. We can't confirm this fact, but as good people (and for the sake of argument), let's just take her on her word regarding her financial position.

Okay, at this point I can assume we're all on the same page. Now let's take this one step further.

What if she worked for a Catholic affiliated organization like, St. John's hospital or Notre Dame University? According to Santorum's stated position, the Catholic affiliated organization that employs her should not have to pay for the testing. Given what we know of Mrs. Gale's financial position, she too could not have paid for the testing. The logic here indicates that Mr. Santorum's policy would probably not be so good for Mrs. Gale's baby.

The thing is, we are using hypotheticals to show that this is not a highly improbable scenario.

Nor does the conversation delve into the ludicrous notion that a person (or worse, an organization) should have the option to waive themselves of having to pay for something that they morally object to. If that were the case, there are plenty of people that would have deducted the percentage costs of the Iraq war out of their taxes because they "morally objected" to the war.

So while you are right to clarify Mr. Santorum's position, the thrust of Mrs. Gale's argument is still incredibly valid.

For the record, my comment is not intended to be coming from either right or left. Rather I am making a strictly logical argument, attempting to connect the dots based on the logical positions of the candidate and of Mrs. Gale.
Gotta go with Barbara J. on this one. Headline, wrong; logic; wrong.
Lot of loopy comments. But of course, Barbara J., and perhaps I, will be excoriated. Fact is, those [probably young, probably not well educated] women who get a free [taxpayer funded] amnio, and are then told to abort by their [government] doctors, will never know that it's simply a cost-saving device. Fewer sick and at-risk babies mean fewer government expenditures. I do not in any way like or admire Santorum. I believe he and his Christian wingnuts are a threat to our secular way of life. But I believe Obama and the plutocrats and leftist ideologues who support him, may actually be the greater threat to our Liberties. First, they make us stupid via bloated school systems which run on the Federal dim; next, then they give us 'free' medical care, in order to cull the 'unfit' unborn from society. And Save $ in the process!! Scary. Very Scary.
I am somewhat speechless over this post and the sea of comments...most of all, I feel gratitude for you and your beautiful daughter, sans all the politics and ranting that followed your personal story. All I can say, is...thank God and goodness, that we live in a day of where we have choices over our health and the health of our unborn babies. Knowledge is a precious commodity and the more we have the better our chances of survival.
A medical miracle cannot be objectionable to God. I just won't accept that. My Catholic upbringing taught me that God was about goodness and love. And the virtues you mentioned were instilled in us. It is news to me, this anti-amnio position of Santorum's. If this is based on Church law, it is yet another good reason for me to have left the Church because it just doesn't make any sense to me.

I understand this piece has gone viral. It deserves it. I hope it will eventually end up on Santorum's desk. I assume he can read.

Lezlie
If abortion were not an option, my third child would not exist. After having one child with a chromosome disorder, I knew I couldn't handle two, and we would not have chosen to get pregnant if we didn't have the option of terminating if there was a problem. I love my special needs daughter, but parenting two kids like her at the same time is beyond my energy level at this juncture. Her baby brother is healthy, but he really would not be here if we did not have freedom of choice.
Rather than turning to my local politician for medical advice....INDEED!

I am rh negative and my husband is rh positive. Our first child was rh positive; our second, our daughter, was rh negative. Before modern testing, our daughter wouldn't have survived. We likely would have experienced several mysterious miscarriages and (perhaps) a live birth with an rh positive fetus.

AND why does our government think they have any right to act as doctors and scientists? At this stage it's -- deregulate EVERYTHING (except women's bodies).
What a beautiful story, your daughter is so fortunate to have been diagnosed and saved. From everything I've read about Santorum, it looks like he's afraid of an amnio leading to an abortion, which it usually does, and sadly amnios can be wrong. Thanks for sharing your story!
Brilliant. I am so happy for you and your daughter. Your story should be read by all. R
I am so glad that your daughter survived! I am glad to know that through your experiences you now are against abortion which kills 3,000 children like you daughter EVERY DAY! Your article is ripe with hypocrisy and false alarm as you falsely state things about Santorum and become everything you say you oppose. Really? Rick would kill your daughter? No exaggeration and character assassination there! Only conservatives do that! Men (and women) have and are always passing laws that restrict our actions. Wake up my feeble-minded and emotionally directed friend! That's what all laws do. There is no caveat for some made-up golden concept called choice. There are men who choose to steal everyday. There are men who choose to commit murder and watch child pornography. We do not honor their choice. So, quit acting like because we oppose abortion we are against choice. As always we are consistent...we oppose wrong choices. Rick would not kill your child...but a doctor would if you would have asked. Sorry to rain on your sentimental parade especially seeing the crowd of admirers who are applauding your duplicity. Weak-minded cheerleaders for the morally deficient. I just could not stay silent when a good belief is being chided and applauded by such egotistical hypocrites.
Santorum is a deadly disease in a silly sweater vest.

He makes it easy to think..oh he's so stupid, so silly, says such CRAZY things, he'll never get elected.

think again.
Santorum is no doctor. Ron Paul is a different matter. I'd like to hear his comments on your story. Yes, amniocentesis results are often the basis of abortion decisions but, as your story amply demonstrates, the process has other medical uses. I find it hard to believe Paul, an obstetrician for many ears, would balk at recommending one given the indicators picked up in your blood work.
We are talking about paying the bill. We are not talking about what you can and can't do.

Take a look at your insurance plan. I'm willing to bet there are lists of things that are excluded from the policy. Under the impression of everybody here there should not be anything exempt from your policy. Have you asked you employer why that don't have a 100% universal coverage policy? Why not? Here you are demanding that certain things must be covered.
Santorum is against a federal government mandate requiring insurance companies to pay for amniocentesis. The author's argument makes no logical sense unless state funds were used to pay for her procedure.

"People have the right to do it, but to have the government force people to provide it free, to me, is a bit loaded," Santorum said.
In the quotation I read, Santorum said that he didn't think insurance companies should be forced to provide free amnio tests. The reason was that providing a service for free encourages people to request it, even it is not medically necessary.

Amnio tests come with some risk, and cause a miscarriage in around one-half of one percent of the cases. They also can be used by parents to terminate less-than-perfect infants (e.g., those with Down Syndrome). So I think Santorum is concerned about free amnio testing being used to terminate otherwise healthy infants who have some kind of disability, in a kind of prenatal "search and destroy" operation.

Whether one agrees with Santorum, I think there is a great difference between his opposition to free amnio testing, and saying that "Santorum wants to kill my baby," or whatever is the title of this post.

This is a rhetorical device often used on Open Salon, in which the failure to support some kind of free service is spun as an attack on someone's rights. For example, if a conservative doesn't think that the government should hand out free cat food, some OS writer will write that "conservatives want to starve my cat." No free birth control is spun as "an attack on women's rights." And now, no free amnio testing is "Santorum would kill my daughter."
Like GWB and his God Squad, Santorum and his ilk are so self-righteously ignorant they undermine my belief in any sort of a sane America for all personal freedoms. Santorum's power of persuasion is dangerously underestimated. What scares me most is how many Women support and follow his views.

Brilliant and important piece. Not to mention a beautiful daughter.
As an O negative mother to two beautiful O posituve children I am sad your daughter had to fight through this terrible disease. My children were both born full term & healthy with no amniocentesis or anything else. I'm wondering why your headline reads why Rick Santorum would have killed your daughter? Do you suppose ObamaCare or RomneyCare would have supplied every treatment necessary for her care and not deemed her condition pre-existing? And as far as your being Catholic goes wouldn't your faith & trust be better placed in God's hands instead of a politician's or doctor's? This story is just political propoganda.
Tom - In case you are not aware, fetal stem cells are not necessary or even useful in stem cell research. I personally know a cardiologist who has been heavily involved in repairing hearts and bone tissue. Has has a video that clearly states that a heart stem sell for a heart and bone for bone is far superior to fetal cells. The bestt is your own stem cells if you are young enough and if not a younger fairly member.

So yes the Christians will line up.
To the OP - I doubt RS wants to prevent tests for those who intend to use the info to save a child. Problem is that amnio is often used to find problems or which people intend to kill the child.

And this whole issue is abut the one size fits all mandate. Everyone having to insure themselves for everything in order for it to be cheaper or everyone to insure themselves for everything. I don't need pre and post natal care so I don't want t pay for it in my policy. On the other hand even the mandate likely wont give me viagra or propecia should I want it.

This is not an issue of anyone wanting to kill your daughter. It is a funding issue. I object because I don't like one size fits all. RS objects because it is his religion. It really does not matter does it. You see this is what happens when we pass things like Obamacare. Without Obamacare this would not even be a topic of debate as it was not when your daughter was born 11 years ago.

That is the issue that people never want to look at the untended consequences of the perfect laws that are going to save everyone from every hardship. You cannot save all the people all the time. You can save most of the people most of the time. Laws and plans that promise the former are just lies.

Your story pulls on everyone's heart strings, but again it wound be no story if gov was not interfering with health insurance in the first place.

Do you really think RS wants to kill your baby. Havnt you figured out yet that politicians will say what they calculate will help their election. The calculation may well be wrong but believing anything they say to be what they think is just silly. RS could be all about abortion for all we know. Maybe he has a skeleton in the closet in to form of a you woman he got pregnant in high school. Writing about what politicians would or would not do basted on campaign statements assumes they are really going to do that.
Thank you for this article. We need all the reality we can get to combat the current attack on women's rights by Rick Santorum. This goofball thinks that birth control is "bad for women and bad for America."

Decisions about proper healthcare should be made between a patient and a doctor - NOT insurance companies, NOT employers, and NOT politicians. Good grief, people, are you serious?? You want your employer to decide - and you think it's okay that women have to pay out of pocket because their boss has a "moral objection" to a procedure?
David Niven would have had my love child, but he's really busy.
Thanks for this moving article. Its well written and sheds light on the backward thinking of Santorum. I'm hoping just plain common sense will prevail and folks will cease to support him.
I'm very happy for you, having found the strength and love to resolve a seemingly insoluble problem with your beautiful daughter's birth...
Who are all these people making drive-by comments? ... Excellent piece. Rated.
I'm glad that your daughter is well and happy. And yes, Santorum is one sick mo-fo. Don't worry, he will not survive the general election.
When Rick Santorum starts talking about the sanctity of life, what he actually means is the sanctity of his and his loved ones' lives and the sanctity of those who share his beliefs. It would be a fundamental mistake to think he gives half a rat's ass about the sanctity of lives which don't conform to his Bible-addled view of what is "right."
My comment is what happens when you're trying to prepare for a dinner party, talk on the phone and comment on OS at the same time! I meant to say that if my daughter had been rh positive after the birth of my rh positive son she would not have survived. (Well at least the salmon for our gathering was perfectly cooked, even if my comment was not!)
A scary, cautionary post. I'm so glad your daughter is fine and thank God, yes God, for amnio. Too bad it didn't exist in my aunt's day; because of the Rh problem she carried four baby girls to full term. All were stillborn.

I think come October, when I'm due for my next Pap smear, pelvic exam and mammogram, I'm going to ask Rick Santorum to personally do them on live TV. In fact, maybe I can get all the candidates to help out. I think it would be a great way to overcome the myth that the Republican party doesn't care about women's health.
Rated. If Santorum and company have their way, the tests would have been available to you only if you had sufficient wealth to purchase them privately.

It's an important point. Thank you!
The author misses something important . Santorum and the Catholic church as she says she was raised are not against amniocentesis. What they are against is using amnio information to justify an abortion. They have never said its wrong, I too am Catholic as is everyone in my family. Now the author makes a point about her having the test because the doctors believed something was wrong which the Church is not against. My mom and sisters all had it done to INSURE the safety of the baby and that the Church says is okay.
OMG thanks god you did the right thing and by letting others know maybe people like RS will get their wings clipped.
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Okay, I admit that Kerry got me here but, that doesn't mean that you don't have a good point. This piece deserves it's status and I'm glad your daughter survived. Well done.
Excellent writing! It comes down to one very basic thing--Men have no right to suggest anything about women's health. Santorum is an idiot and anyone who supports him or defends him is a moron. There are over 300 million of us in the United States. Can anyone seriously look and listen to Santorum and suggest he is the cream of the crop? The fact that Santorum gets any votes is a sad commentary on how much influence the loonies on the right have over the rest of us. Good work here.
Several posters have defended Santorum by making the distinction that he only opposes amnio when the intent is to consider opting for abortion, as opposed to saving the child's life. I don't see how his intention makes the difference: pro-life positions can lead to lots of unintended consequences that harm life because it is driven by ignorant biblical principles rather than medicine and science. And this article is just one clear case of that.

As for the arguments that the religious have some special license to avoid or escape contributing financially to democratically determined public policies, this is an unjust plea for special treatment, not a defense of first amendment rights of moral conscience based on religious freedom.

If such an ability for individuals to assert their moral conscience were granted to each citizen, then I and many other Americans should have been able to withdraw my tax dollars from supporting the invasion of Iraq because it was morally repugnant to me, and even more so because the "decider" claimed God told him to do it. My religious freedom was mightily violated by having an unelected religious man awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court, and then have him use religious mumbo-jumbo to destroy cities and lives in the name of America, the nation I love. Such horror and shame had to be endured.

The Catholics and others will have to endure the reality that people don't share their faith, and that people have good reasons for having access to and using contraceptives. At least you have the total freedom to appeal to your lord for consolation over this trivial inconvenience you pretend is some kind of egregious assault on your moral principles. If a religious institution wishes to engage in a scientific medical enterprise, then it should be held to the standards of following best practices of the profession. Or else they should stay in their churches and monasteries where they can shelter themselves from reality and enjoy the actual limits of their first amendment rights.

There are those for whom it is morally unconscionable that some should receive social safety net transfers of wealth, while others find it deeply morally offensive that in this wealthy nation people should live in poverty or go without needed medical care or lose their home if struck by sudden illness.

What about Americans who are forced to endure, against their deepest religious beliefs, having the false claim that they trust in God printed on the currency? What about those who must accept the meaningless nonsense that our nation is "under God" in the pledge of allegiance?

We should not have to adjust secular laws to suit every religious taste. No religious person should be made to have an abortion, or made to use contraception. And they should have the freedom to worship and believe as they wish. But they should not have the freedom to unilaterally avoid having tax dollars or health care dollars indirectly support what they themselves would not choose. This unfortunate inconvenience of living in a democratic pluralistic society is something that every person with a conscience must endure, regardless of their religious belief or lack thereof.
@Barbara Joanne you seem to have missed the part in SFG's story where she and her husband would not have been able to afford the testing. Therefore, they would not have known how to save their daughter. Now apparently you keep reprinting what Santorum said about birth defects and his claim that most end in abortion due to prenatal testing, and I'm assuming you agree on that point with him. I have no problem with that being your BELIEF, and with you sharing it. I hope you won't mind me sharing my BELIEF that I don't think you have enough people who believe as either of you do, to demand that preventative medicine should not be a part of the benefit of health insurance. And if that is what you are suggesting then perhaps you feel the same way about EKG, blood testing, and every other test done to save lives. If not, if you think you should be able to get a life saving test covered by your insurance, then exactly what are you talking about?
What a powerful story. Thank you for writing it.
Denying diagnostic testing and screening premised upon ignorance is what keeps our country from being healthy. Fabrications of fiction are what keeps our nation in a constant state of chaos wherein life and death decisions are made under duressful conditions.

I don't make medical decisions based on emotions. Logic tends to enter my mind.

Any irrational moralists' opinions are excluded from my life.
Thank you for sharing your story. He is a most arrogant person, there are a lot of men out there sharing their "truths" with the world. They are very dangerous men.
Don't worry about it, Rick Santorum will not be getting his way. There is no possible way he's going to win. I'm a practicing Catholic and resent it when people in politics tell me how I am supposed to think or what I am supposed to do. I wish politicians would govern instead of preach like churches. I hate the hypocrisy.
although in all fairness, the Akron Beacon Journal recently did an article about how the majority (90% or so) of women who discover some ailment regarding their child (sickle cell or something?) do end up having an abortion which is not exactly the moral course of action that the richest country in the history of the universe ought to be taking. of course, Rick is still a jackass
Great read and spot on. Thanks. ~R
What I'm waiting for is for science to detect the gene that indicates sexual preference. When parents start testing for and possibly terminating pregnancies when tests show their child will be gay, what will happen?
I am so confused about where you guys came up with the notion that Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church is against women having an Amnio. That is wrong that you are passing around these rumors and you need to get your facts straight before you say these things. The church would never say an amnio is wrong. I would personally not get one unless my doctor urged me for a reason other than I am over 35 or something that there is nothing to be done except abortion. But if someone else wants to have one done to be prepared or whatever... sure. I have never read anything in church teaching that would say that it is wrong to have an amnio. If the intention is to decide whether to kill that baby or not... well, you have a different story there- killing a baby is always wrong. But being prepared is not and an amnio is not bad.
Great article, and contratulations on its getting the attention it deserves.

Ironic, isn't it, that anti-abortion fanatics in Virginia are pushing for a state law that would require women have a medically unnecessary and highly invasive ultra-sound against their will (and that of their doctors) thinking it will cause women to think twice about an abortion, but in your case these same fanatics would deny you a test you did want that saved your baby. They know no shame.
sflood

It's you who needs to get your facts straight. Here is Rick Santorum on this very topic, via Village Voice (Oh, I know, you can never trust the biased liberal media!)

"One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America," Santorum said of Barack Obama's health care policies. "Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society...[It's] another hidden message as to what President Obama thinks of those who are less able."
S An, the author specifically mentions RhoGAM in her story:

"In the 60s, a drug called RhoGAM was approved by the FDA to prevent this disease, and it has since saved hundreds of thousands of lives. In almost every case when it is administered in time it is effective. But in my case, it wasn’t."
Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your story! Loved this paragraph: "Rather than turning to my local politician for prenatal advice, I followed the guidance of my obstetrician, who sent me to a perinatologist, who recommended I have an amniocentesis. Because he had a medical degree and years of experience treating pregnant women, I followed his recommendation." I, too, am grateful to have had access to a trained physician who recommended amnio in two different pregnancies, and my two healthy sons would agree.
Sharia Law - Canon Law, not that big a difference, really. And, despite all the hair splitting and angels on pinheads counting Barbara Joanne & the blank-faced trolls can foist upon us, Santorum is trying to activate the American christian Taliban.

Sarah Fister Gale - I'm glad you got to keep that beautiful daughter.
Ted- I do have my facts straight- the church is NOT against amnio's or prenatal healthcare- just murder of innocent human beings- aka Fetus'

Santorum is right- prenatal testing does increase abortions and decrease the number of handicapped children there are. Who wants a handicapped child- I mean really- they aren't perfect right, and they cost a lot more than regular children? It would be cheaper to diagnose diseases and kill those kids and make the abortion industry a lot of money while they're at it. Oh- are you mad at me for saying handicapped children aren't perfect? Well- you are the one saying that Santorum is wrong for saying that. So you are implying that we should just kill them, you know what- it'd be cheaper for us if we just went around killing everyone who is an illegal immigrant or who doesn't have health insurance, or let's kill off all the mentally ill who can't hold a job while we're at it. Hell- let's just kill everyone on medicaid cause they sure are costing us a lot. (I hope you know I'm being sarcastic)

I seriously doubt he meant we shouldn't have access to amnio's or prenatal health care- I'm sure he was pointing to the idea that pushing all the extras in prenatal healthcare does lead to more abortions and the death of children with disabilities. Sounds good if you make your money from the abortion industry, but not really very moral to encourage abortions which is what this seems to do. Whatev, I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice if all this testing wasn't free--- but please will you tell me with the freakin' huge deficit we have- where the HELL is this money coming from?
I am glad you have your daughter and your story is beautiful. I did not hear Mr. Santorum's remarks but everything I am reading and hearing he said something to the effect that there are more abortions when this test is used since it does show up Downs and such - His being the father of a special daughter and saying on one occasion they loved their daughter and she was a beautiful gift - it confused me that he would say such a thing. (why does anything a politican say confuse me??) Even if you used the test to find out if your child might have something, it provides you with knowledge that helps when something has come up. I don't see this as a GOP thing though - I see it as a political thing and also a politician saying something that he doesn't really know about (which Gore and Kerry did an embarrassing amount of). I don't vote party, and it gets more and more difficult each election to make an informed vote because Dems, Reps and Independents just don't make good sense to me anymore. Thank you for sharing and I am glad your daughter was fine.
Wonderful article. Beautifully written. Santorum is sanctimonius.
Sflood I am always amazed by the compassion you pro life people have for the unborn and the lack of compassion you have for those who are born. Because as I recall during the healthcare debate those who were staunchly pro-life were attacking people who identified themselves as having some disease or handicap and I'm pretty sure I can google videos of the ugliness as well. Oh hell let me just put one in here http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-324434. Now it seems to me you can't have it both ways where you don't want to pay for prenatal test to ensure one's health, or if they will terminate a pregnancy (legal procedure not up for a committee vote either). The idea is that a person makes an informed decision as to what they can handle financially, mentally, and emotionally. Once they weigh their options they make a decision knowing that only they will bear that weight. Here is another sickening example of what the right feels about healthcare. http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/tea-party-audience-cheers-letting-the-uninsured-die/
"Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong." Unless, of course, it's the invasive ultrasound women in Virginia are required to undergo prior to having an abortion. Beautifully written. Thank you for your insights.
What if the company that supplied insurance to its employees was owned by the Christian Science Church?
let me start by saying that i'm glad your daughter is healthy and here with us today. i am by no means a santorum supporter. but my take on what he was saying is that if a woman has prenatal testing and it's determined an anomoly is present chances are an abortion will result.
furyous,
It is unlikely that a single gene determines sexual orientation. If it ever becomes possible to determine orientation in the womb, hopefully society will be sufficiently enlightened that the gay orientation will be no less desirable than being left handed.

I think a greater moral dilemma for you to consider would be what if we can determine genetically if a baby will be born with a conservative political outlook. The liberals will be able to abort conservative babies, but conservatives will not be able (apparently) to abort liberal babies. Perhaps after a few generations of that we would finally be able to progress beyond the reactionary dogmatic resentment that hampers modernization and harmonization of society today.
sflood wrote: "Whatev, I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice if all this testing wasn't free--- but please will you tell me with the freakin' huge deficit we have- where the HELL is this money coming from?"

The money comes from private insurers. Total premium dollars will increase due to the individual mandate, which should encourage a large number of younger healthier people to contribute to the risk pool. Also there were $500 billion in future medicare cost reductions factored in. The ACA is actually deficit reducing legislation according to CBO projections, so you can rest assured it was designed in a fiscally responsible manner.

If you listen to critics, they'll call it budget busting (wrong) out of one side of their mouth, and then they'll criticize Obama for "cutting medicare benefits" (false) out the other side. It's odd since they are so anxious to cut entitlements, and then they make it out as bad that the ACA was balanced against cuts in future medicare growth.
@sflood:

One more thing. It's a conservative conceit that liberals want more abortions. This is totally absurd. What we want is for women to be in control of their bodies. We would prefer that no abortions occur. That's why we encourage any woman who is not ready to be a mother to use contraception. Then we simply accept that very annoying but unavoidable complication known as "reality", in which actual human females have actual natural biologically normal sexual desires that cause them to have sex and become pregnant (if they are careless about contraception or if the contraceptive fails). I think it is this feature of human life that conservatives would like to ignore or wish away.

Actually our biological nature, or perhaps God in your worldview, causes over 50% of fertilized embryos to abort naturally. I suppose you wish you could cuddle those fetuses, but you might find them less than humanly affectionate since they aren't fully developed life forms. But you might want to ask God why he kills so many of them himself. You may have to wait a long time for the answer though. Perhaps you should just try to accept our actual biological nature, and embrace it as it is, rather than disliking it as it is and idealizing it as you would like it to be.
I can't imagine taking this article at face value. How about citing some facts?

I love people try to destroy people they don't agree with. Those are usually the same people who try to promote "diversity". Sure, as long as your diversity is the same as mine!
Rick Santorum is an idiot.
Allow me to rephrase: Fine, don't have the amnio. But don't deny me my right to have an affordable one.
I have read with interest and have really tried to keep an open mind. I want to understand all sides of the issue. I see some comments that tests are expensive and all tests shouldn't be available to everyone because they might lead to abortion, so it's better to just not have the test & let the baby die. I read that this is just Santorum's opinion and his religious belief not what he would force on others..Oh really? I see the author of this piece attacked and suggestions that she should sue the hell out of her doctor! A curious suggestion from the party who pushes tort reform. If Santorum doesn't want to control what women do with their bodies why is he talking about it. If he isn't setting himself up as the moral authority and arbiter of right and wrong, he is doing a damn good job of fooling a lot of people. Those who defend him are as deluded as he is. He actually has a good idea or two hidden away, but his blunderbuss sprays wild craziness so widely and says so much about his weird and frightening need to force us all to conform to his ethic, that he will be viewed by the majority of thinking people who value their liberties as so far out of the mainstream that he is a danger to the American way.
HowdyDoody,

You are so predictable.

I was once communications director for a state Republican Party back in the 1980s and early 90s. I learned much of what I now know about political rhetoric and propaganda from Newt Gingrich when he was heading up GOPAC. And one of the cardinal rules when trying to make the toxic positions of right wing extremism mainstream is never, ever argue radical reactionary positions on their merits in public because you will lose every time.

Instead, says Gingrich, use liberalism's own values of tolerance and open-mindedness against it by scolding liberals whenever they reject out of hand right wing outrageousness -- not because these right wing views really are daffy -- but because liberals are just hypocrites who don't walk the walk of their own talk about open-mindedness and tolerance.

That is also the message the audience of Fox News gets all the time as well when they tell conservatives that liberals should be more tolerant of right wing intolerance. It's evident that this is where you get that message, as robotically repeat something I've read and heard a million times from wingnuts who can't defend their views, when you say: " I love (how) people try to destroy people they don't agree with. Those are usually the same people who try to promote "diversity". Sure, as long as your diversity is the same as mine!"

Bill O'Reilly used this very same get-out-of-jail-free card just the other day when he didn't try to defend Santorum's offensive and weird remarks on birth control but rather said Santorum should never say those things in public "because he will never get a fair shake from the biased liberal press." That's right Fox listeners, don't think Santorum is a nut, blame the liberal media for showing clips of Santorum being a nut. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Likewise, the Christian right bigot who says homosexuality is a crime against nature and a sin against God routinely accuses their critics of "attacking people of faith" as if the reaction from liberals to right wing bigotry is totally unprovoked and uncalled for. It is as if if anti-gay hatefulness should get a pass simply because the holly roller is "standing up for Christian-Judeo family values" that somehow forgets the part about being thy brothers keeper and loving they enemy.
Thank you so much for writing this important personal story. I'm glad to see it has been shared, for indeed it is a story that needs to be heard.
Barbara Joanne... I am skipping all of your posts. You have an agenda. You will continue to make what you want to out of facts. Truth is politicians need to stay out of the medical field. There is no right way to legislate medical needs. You also are not a Dr. Truth is medical choices will be made and some will agree others will disagree but to make an unilateral decision on faith of some is wrong.
Just wow! I read the piece. Then the commentary.

Headline is wrong. The point, though, is right.

The comments? Well, I'm reminded of G.K. Chesterson's (the famous distributist Catholic) comment, which I paraphrase:

"The problem with liberals is that they keep making mistakes. The problem with conservatives is that they keep preventing them from being corrected."
Incredible story. I was also RH - with two RH + positive babies but I had the Rhogham shots both times. And as for all the GOP candidates -- when did we return to the Middle Ages?
Amen Sister! Send this clown back to the circus. I am so happy that your little girl was ok. Who does this fool think he is?
"In the Catholic church where I was raised, pride, arrogance and an overinflated sense of oneself were considered sins." ...and so is killing children! Very enlightening post. Who can argue with this??
Thou shalt not tell women what to do with their own bodies.
I'm no Santorum supporter, but this article is a little misleading. RhoGam was introduced sometime between 1961, when I was born, and 1964, when my sister was born. Mom (Rh -) did not get RhoGam when she was pregnant with me (Rh+), but she did get it when she was pregnant with my younger sister. Mom did not get an amniocentesis with either one of us. I received a blood transfusion the day I was born, and I'm fine -- no brain damage, no developmental delays and at least average intelligence (I'm an attorney, insert lawyer joke here). I am also the mother of a child with a genetic disorder, and I DID have an amniocentesis before he was born. The sonogram had shown a malformation in the brain (Dandy Walker malformation), so I had an amniocentesis just to feel more comfortable with what we were dealing with. As it turns out, my son's disorder (Joubert Syndrome) is so rare that the amniocentesis came back negative, indicating no abnormalities. I'm glad the author shared this article, although I think she may be dramatizing the issue to prove a point. As the mother of a child with special needs, I do believe amniocentesis should be covered under all insurance policies -- - the parents are DEFINITELY better off knowing what they may have to deal with and being able to prepare for it. In addition, I'd like Rick Santorum and all of the other conservatives to realize that not ALL women who have bad results on an amniocentesis or other pre-natal testing end up having abortions. I agree with what Malusinka posted -- if everyone who is so "Pro-Life" spent as much time assisting children with special needs as they do protesting against abortion and various other legal medical procedures, our children (and their caregivers!) would be much better off.
The author is clearly slandering Senator Santorum, and has so little respect for her child she is willing to exploit the child to accomplish her ends. It is absolutely clear that nothing Santorum has proposed would prevent this woman from obtaining the diagnostic amniocentesis her doctor recommended to determine the treatment necessary to save her unborn child's life. There is also absolutely nothing Senator Santorum has said indicating he has any question about the morality of her choice. It is a shameful lie for her to say otherwise.

What he has said is that he believes the federal government should not dictate to insurers that they cover all prenatal testing for all purposes. He never indicated that there is anything wrong with covering the kind of prenatal testing described in this article. He raises absolutely solid points about certain types of prenatal testing used not to determine treatment to save lives, but rather to determine characteristics of a child (e.g., disability, gender or eventually maybe even sexual preference) certain parents find so undesirable that they would use that information to decide to take the child's life rather than save it.

If you oppose Santorum on this you are in favor of forcing everyone to fund the killing of unborn girls by parents from some cultures because they prefer boy children. You are in favor of forcing us to pay for testing to determine a child should be disposed of because it is disabled. You are in favor of someday killing unborn babies because they are found to possess a gene that makes it more likely they are gay. Santorum is not even saying the government should take steps to ban such morally repugnant prenatal testing - only that the government not force the rest of us to encourage testing intended to support a choice of death rather than life with our tax dollars.

For this woman to advance an agenda of forcing us to participate in taking undesirable lives by lying that a candidate wants to prevent the saving of wanted lives is reprehensible in the extreme.
I am actually alive today because of a felony. I needed a complete blood transfer at birth, there was a shortage of blood due to a flu outbreak and the doctors decided I probably wouldn't make it anyway so they didn't want to waste the blood. My parents called a friend, she called her ex husband who ran the Minneapolis blood bank and he showed up in my mom's hospital room in the middle of the night with several bags of blood. She was assured it was good blood and told not to disclose where it came from. I am here because of stolen blood and a really good guy. I would not be if Santorum and his ilk had anything to say about it.
While I didn't read all the comments, I don't believe there is a GOP war on women. I do, however, believe that Rick Santorum is a complete idiot.

I have a similar story: ‎
24 years ago I went into pre-term labor at just 28 weeks along, and I too, had an amniocentesis, which showed that my son's lungs were not developed. Had I delivered that night, my oldest son, who got married 2 weeks ago, would not have survived. Instead, the doctors tilted me toward my head to relieve any pressure on my cervix, and gave me two types of medication to prevent more contractions. I remained in the hospital for 4 weeks, receiving steroid shots to help his lungs develop. When the medicines stopped working, and the contractions started again, I had a 2nd amniocentesis which showed that while he was small, and 8 weeks early, his lungs were developed. My son weighed in at 4 lbs 11 ozs, and while he had to stay in the hospital to gain weight, he was breathing on his own with strong lungs.

Rick Santorum is, indeed, an idiot.
See "Richard Nixon wanted my daughter aborted."
"Rather than turning to my local politician for prenatal advice, I followed the guidance of my obstetrician," That says it all for me.
I applaud you for sharing your story, I am also a Catholic who had an amnio because of abnormal blood results. I was astounded by the amount of people out there who did not understand I did this not to abort, but to make sure the doctors had all information needed to deliver her safely. The injections worked for our Rh and my daughter was fine. I think it is ignorance for people to say that doctors encourage abortions. They do not. They give you the facts and let you decide. Doctors do not go into their profession to kill, but to heal.
I applaud you for sharing your story, I am also a Catholic who had an amnio because of abnormal blood results. I was astounded by the amount of people out there who did not understand I did this not to abort, but to make sure the doctors had all information needed to deliver her safely. The injections worked for our Rh and my daughter was fine. I think it is ignorance for people to say that doctors encourage abortions. They do not. They give you the facts and let you decide. Doctors do not go into their profession to kill, but to heal.
Beautifully written and thoughtfully told, you've inspired me to take a stand and share my own story. We must stop all the mean-spiritedness and call it by it's real name: Insanity.
For those asking here is a link to what he said - this is not where I originally saw him say it so it is not a one off comment. http://dailyhurricane.com/2012/02/rick-santorum-on-prenatal-testing.html
Please go here for what Santorum really said:

http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/02/what-rick-santorum-actually-told-bob-schieffer-on-face-the-nation/

Hate him, like him, love him, whatever, it is a good idea to get the truth of what he said. And you are not getting it here. (I think the author may have just misunderstood the man. I hate to think that deliberate misinterpretation is going on out of hatred of the man. But whatever has happened here, that man - that devil - did not say what she is alleging he did and clarity about that is important.)

BTW, the criticism he did make about how some tests are used was made - irony of ironies - in a defense of nascent human life (babies) in the womb.
"Eleven years ago, my husband and I had two kids and a mortgage, and like most young families we didn’t have $2,000 to pay for a test that my husband’s employer might object to on moral grounds."

You tell a great story and, I'm sure, will have even better stories to tell us about your little girl as she grows into her teen years and beyond.

However, and there is always either a "however" or a "but" in any discussion. However, I don't recall ANY language spoken by Rick Santorum that would suggest anything beyond the First Amendment rights of the Catholic Church and organizations it supports. Nowhere that I can see did he ever say that religion should play any roll between companies and workers.

I agree with you that the Church has a great many warts hidden under those vestments, too many priests don't teach they love of Jesus, Savior of all Christians. In that respect, the Catholic Church can learn much from the Evangelical movement which does a lot more than focus on politics, as you well know.
So, sflood wants to know where the money for this will come from? Here's a suggestion:Take it out of the bloated military budget. How many TRILLIONS did the illegal, immoral invasion and occuption of Iraq cost the taxpayers? And how much money could have been diverted to health care if we hadn't gone there?
I have been called out for linking this article on my FB page by a conservative family member. Can you provide support for your claim that Rick Santorum is against amniocentesis?
More fun facts about Rick Santorum here, and here.

(WARNING - both links may be NSFW)
So happy to discover your writing on Open Salon! Thanks for sharing this experience. [r]
We chose not to have the test based on my asking the question of the OB/GYN " What possible information could we get from this test that could improve the outcome or perhaps give us information that a possible intervention could rectify?" The response was "N othing".
While it was almost twelve years ago, I am sick to think that I could be reading this without my twins boys bouncing around upstairs getting ready for school.
While I am not a Rick Santorum supporter, I do feel like amnio is presented to the public just as he percieved the test. That ignorance lies in the medical community not getting your scenario to the light.
MDs, now you know I have always not liked that Workplace Hitting on me. Which caused Workplace and Domestic Violence upon my entire life from those people at Stony Lodge Hospital.
How many babies did I deliver anyway? How many children's lives did I help heal and save anyways? Just how many times did you MDs not be able to put in those IVs and beg me to do it for you on those little ones? Why do I have to ride on that International Flight 733 with US Airways and have to not have my Jacks n Cokes and redefine the Emergency Protocals on International flights? And demand it.
Afterall, I would NEVER get pregnant now and have to do that all over again. Raising those two kids without their sperm donor was a struggle and the entire pie enough. And the minute I wanted to chew off the top of that Maslow's Theory, they attacked and destroyed my entire life.