Politics
Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a Republican presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a Republican presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  

Santorum promises to ban abortion, discharge gay soldiers and abolish the 9th Circuit

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Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum laid out an ambitious social policy agenda on Friday during the first in a series of three policy speeches he will deliver over the coming weeks.

The program Santorum outlined, the Des Moines Register reports, would include reinstating “don’t ask, don’t tell,” pursuing a constitutional ban on abortion, enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act and abolishing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has traditionally been liberal-minded.

While other presidential candidates have mostly focused on economic policy, Santorum began the speech by focusing on social policy, describing the two as inextricably connected.

“The economy is inextricably linked to the moral fabric of this country,” Santorum proclaimed. “And we can’t have a real solution-based conversation about fixing the economic problems in this country without faith and family being a large part of that conversation.”

The family, he said, is a necessary building block for fiscal goals.

“You cannot have limited government if you have broken families because someone has to pick up the pieces, and the ones who pick up the pieces are the taxpayers,” Santorum said.

Santorum said that using the power of the executive branch, he would separate abortion and family planning and restore a ban on abortion referrals, as well as re-institute the “Mexico City Policy,” which prevents taxpayer funding or promotion of overseas abortions. (RELATED: Santorum aide: Cain should be more forthcoming on allegations)

He would also ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and would ask Congress to implement several laws to that effect. He additionally pledged to repeal the mandate included in Obama’s health care reform that provides contraceptive services, and promised to veto any bill providing funds to Planned Parenthood.

Santorum added that he would defend the Defense of Marriage Act from court challenges, ban same-sex marriages on military bases and demand that Congress restore the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Though his socially conservative message appeals to a significant number of Iowa caucus-goers, it hasn’t significantly aided his poll numbers. In a Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus participants released last weekend, Santorum was in sixth place with five percent support.