Before Karen Met Rick

The GOP contender’s hard-core pro-life wife once dated an abortion provider. Nancy Hass on their time together.

  1. Karen Santorum, the ultra-pro-life wife and mother of seven home-schooled children, has been the perfect complement to her husband, Rick, as he chases the Republican presidential nomination. On the campaign trail, the candidate often refers to her book, Letters to Gabriel, the story of the devoutly Catholic couple’s traumatic late-term 1997 miscarriage (the 20-week-old fetus lived two hours outside the womb). The couple opposes birth control as well as abortion, even in cases of rape.

    But Mrs. Santorum, 51, apparently wasn’t always committed to the cause. In fact, her live-in partner through most of her 20s was Tom Allen, a Pittsburgh obstetrician and abortion provider 40 years older than she, who remains an outspoken crusader for reproductive rights and liberal ideals. Dr. Allen has known Mrs. Santorum, born Karen Garver, her entire life: he delivered her in 1960.

    “Karen was a lovely girl, very intelligent and sweet,” says Allen, who at 92 uses a walker but retains a sly smile. A ...

The complete text of “Before Karen Met Rick ” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.thedailybeast.com.

Originally published in Newsweek, January 2012

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