Santorum not 'anti-women' - wife
Washington - White House hopeful Rick
Santorum's wife hit back on Monday at claims that her husband is
"anti-women," and denied that if elected he would make it harder for
women to gain access to contraception.
In a rare television interview on the eve of
a Republican primary contest in Illinois, Karen Santorum defended her husband,
who has come under fire from women's groups for his opposition to birth control
measures and abortion.
She told CNN talk show host Piers Morgan that
her husband's strong opposition to contraception represent "his personal
beliefs," and would not form government policy were he to become the
Republican candidate and defeat Democrat Barack Obama in November's general
"The unfortunate thing is when Rick was
asked the question, he said these are my personal beliefs. And the press kept
asking him the issue about it again and again," Mrs Santorum said.
"What it is, it's not an issue about
contraception. It's an issue about personal freedoms. And the fact that the
government should not be making people go against their conscience."
Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who
is vying with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for a win in Illinois,
is a conservative Catholic who has trumpeted his strong Christian beliefs on
the campaign trail.
His opposition to abortion and contraception
allowed him to gain traction as the most socially conservative of the four
candidates seeking the Republican nomination, but it may have affected his
standing with women voters.
When asked if her husband was "anti-women"
and opposed to women having contraception, Mrs Santorum replied: "Not at
"He's been 100% supportive of me and my
dreams and my career. It was my decision to stay home and be a mom at home.
Some day when I go back to work, Rick will be 100% behind me," she said.
"So it makes me sad that the media tries
to do that to him. They try to make it look like he is something he's not. Rick
is a great guy. He's completely supportive of women. I think women have nothing
to fear when it comes to contraceptives, he will do nothing on that
Asked again if that meant Santorum, if
elected, would respect a women's right to use contraception, his wife replied:
"Absolutely. And he has said that."
Written off in the early days, Santorum has
steadily notched up wins - 10 out of 31 contests - largely with the help of
evangelicals and the party's most conservative members.
Romney however is favoured to defeat Santorum
on Tuesday in Illinois.