Santorum stands firm on pro-life position

In the Republican race for the presidential nomination, a new poll shows that Mitt Romney is inching ahead of Rick Santorum in Michigan: 37 percent to 35. That's Romney's home state and he's been behind there. The primary is next Tuesday.

In recent days, issues of birth control, prenatal testing and abortion have dominated much of the campaign. CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds caught up with Santorum to find out where he stood on the social issues.

In front of a conservative Tea Party crowd in Tucson Wednesday, Rick Santorum outlined the things he believes are worth fighting for, and they are the foundation of his views on social issues.

"Life, family, country, churches and religious liberties," he said at the rally.

Santorum is a staunch opponent of abortion under any circumstances. He advocates abstinence over birth control and opposes a government mandate that religious-run institutions like Catholic hospitals provide employees with contraception.

Santorum opposes civil unions for gay couples
Santorum attacks Obama on prenatal screening

"This is an issue of religious liberty," said Santorum. "This is an issue of the federal government trying to impose its values on the Catholic Church and other religions."

As for secular organizations, Reynolds asked Santorum: "Do you have a problem with them covering contraception?"

"No," he replied.

This week, he raised concerns about the prenatal test amniocentesis. He's suggested that it often leads to abortions, which in turn are designed to cull the population of the unwanted or the disabled.

"Are you opposed to amniocentesis? What is your position on that?" Reynolds asked the candidate.

"The point I was trying to make," said Santorum, "is that should government be in the business of funding and encouraging this type of test that leads to high rates of abortion?"

He likened amniocentesis to a science that improves genetics by manipulation. "It is about eugenics? Let's just lay it on the line. That's what it's about."

"Just that kind of test? There are other kinds of pre-natal tests," asked Reynolds.

"Absolutely essential prenatal tests," Santorum said. "Sonograms are standard fare, not invasive, not threatening."

The former Pennsylvania senator is also opposed to gay marriage. He told us Wednesday he's against civil unions for gay couples.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

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