Rick Santorum's wife Karen has long been an ardent ally of her husband's political career. She's given birth to seven children and home schooled the lot of them so he could go off and do his politicking. She's written about how important it is to be pro life, even in the case of rape and incest. But did you know that for most of her twenties, her live-in boyfriend was an abortion provider? And that he had helped deliver her when she was born? Who knew that it would be Rick Santorum, of all the political candidates, whose life's arc most resembled that of a Latin American telenovela?

The Daily Beast is reporting that before Rick was a glint in Karen Santorum's eye, she was Karen Garver. As a 22-year-old nursing student, she began a relationship with 63-year-old Dr. Tom Allen, and the two were together for six years. Dr. Allen and Karen Garver were already acquainted, sort of; he'd delivered her when she was born in 1960. They met again after Karen contacted Allen about an apartment he was renting in his house near where she was attending nursing school.

Garver moved into the basement apartment, but she wasn't there long, says Allen. "That first night, as soon as it got dark, she called to say she was scared and asked if she could come up. I figured it was a come-on, but that was OK." Karen, he says, came upstairs, permanently.


But the strangest aspect of vocal pro-life advocate Karen Santorum's relationship with Dr. Allen wasn't their age difference or the fact that he helped cut her umbilical cord. It's that Allen's job— in addition to delivering babies like Karen— was to provide women with abortions. He not only terminated pregnancies, but was a vocal proponent of abortion rights in the days before Roe v Wade. He even founded a clinic that provided women with "therapeutic abortions" in the late 1960's, where women would get clearance from psychologists who would exploit a loophole in the law that allowed women in a less-than-solid mental state to terminate their pregnancy for their own health. Allen is also a member of his local chapter of the ACLU, supports the symphony, and enjoys wine. For those of you playing Liberal Stereotype Bingo at home, make sure to check your cards. I just gave you like four squares.

According to The Daily Beast, Karen wasn't in the dark about any of this, and even supported Allen's efforts. A family friend reported that Karen offered to take her to the clinic for her abortion and provide support after the procedure. He bought her a piano so she could learn how to play, paid for her dental work, and took her on trips around the world. He was with Karen when she enrolled in law school, but the two broke up when she wanted to have children and he didn't. The future Mrs. Santorum met the future Internet Joke Presidential Candidate when she served as a summer intern at his law firm, and as soon as they got married, they started their family and the progressive, abortion-friendly Karen Garver was no more.

Karen Santorum's personal life shouldn't matter, except she's decided that it matters; she's injected her personal life into her husband's political life and her husband has taken it and ran. When the personal becomes political, the political becomes personal, and you can't be both in public and off limits.


Before Karen met Rick [The Daily Beast]