In their roles as First Lady, Rosalynn Carter spotlighted mental illness as her cause du jour, Nancy Reagan picked “Just Say No” to drugs, Laura Bush promoted childhood literacy, and Michelle Obama is battling childhood obesity.

I’ve mused now and then how wild and wonderful it would be for a First Lady to use her four- to eight-year position of prominence to champion the sanctity of human life.

Speaking at right-to-life banquets, promoting pregnancy care centers, educating on the harm of abortion – a crazy good but impossible dream, I’ve thought.

Until now.

The Daily Beast ran a piece yesterday, “Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum’s Activist First Lady, Karen,” subtitled, “Karen Santorum, the candidate’s wife, is a former neonatal nurse who wrote a book about the death of their baby. Eleanor Clift on her strength and her strong faith in the Roman Catholic Church – and its dictates.”

Since the article was written by an abortion proponent and published by a liberal online rag, its obvious intent was to scare the daylights out of pro-aborts. But I loved it. An excerpt:

Karen Garver Santorum is one of 12 children, and having a large family of her own is entirely natural to her, reflecting her strong faith in the Roman Catholic Church and its dictates. She is also an anti-abortion activist, and in 1992 helped launch the Susan B. Anthony List, which is dedicated to electing pro-life women to public office. “Karen was an accomplished attorney before she met Rick and a sharp person herself who understood the intellectual underpinning of what we were and are trying to do,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group’s president. “She got it – that a pro-life feminist is not an oxymoron.”

The two women are friends and allies, and Dannenfelser marvels at what she calls Karen Santorum’s “composure in the storm,” an inner strength she believes uniquely situates the candidate’s wife for what lies ahead in the political minefields. She recalls hosting an event on the publication of Santorum’s book, Letters to Gabriel, recounting this most intimate journey of the baby she carried and then lost. Her children were milling around and acting up as children will, yet she kept her focus as she talked. Dannenfelser is a huge fan, saying it is one thing to be a pro-life activist but quite another to live those values, as Santorum did with Gabriel and continues to do with her youngest child, Bella, now 3, who was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder associated with a severely shortened life.

“The effect she has is to soften the heart for the vulnerable,” says Dannenfelser. “She is a truly tender warrior.”

Oh, to dream the impossible dream….

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