Santorum stands with Texas pro-lifers

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (left) talks with Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, Houston Democrat, in the Senate Chambers in Austin on July 11, 2013. A Senate committee pushed through new abortion restrictions, setting up a Senate vote before the weekend to send it to Gov. Rick Perry. The bill would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum parachuted in Texas on Thursday to throw his support behind the Republican-led push to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose stricter regulations on abortion clinics — putting the former GOP presidential candidate in the middle of a fiery national debate that is right in his political wheelhouse.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Mr. Santorum chastised the news media for casting the legislative push as "radical" and "extreme," and took aim at Republicans who are shying away from making social issues a priority.

"What they are doing here today is simply human decency," Mr. Santorum said. "Human decency for the little child in the womb."

The Texas bill has reignited an emotional debate over abortion, with pro-life and pro-choice forces lining up on both sides of the issue.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, Fort Worth Democrat, temporarily gummed up the effort by filibustering the proposal for ten hours. But Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who supports the proposal, called another special session and the measure moved a closer to passage Thursday when a committee forwarded it toe the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Senate is expected to debate and pass the proposal on Friday.

Mr. Santorum's reputation's as a staunch social conservative helped power him to a second place finish in the 2012 GOP presidential nomination race.

Since then, the 55-year-old has gone on to launch Patriot Voices, an advocacy group that promotes "faith, family, freedom and opportunity," and has left the door open for another presidential bid in 2016.

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