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March 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a candid interview with CBS, Karen Santorum, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, shot back at those who have criticized the way she and her husband mourned the loss of their child Gabriel, who died shortly after childbirth 16 years ago.

In a book, “Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum,” Karen had described how she and Rick brought home the body of Gabriel to let their other children see and hold him.

In remarks in January, Fox News’ Alan Colmes ripped Santorum for the episode, saying it showed “bad judgment” and was evidence of the “crazy” things he has “said and done.” Colmes accused Santorum of having “played” with his deceased son “for a couple hours so his other children would know that the child was real.”

Shortly after Colmes made his remarks, the presidential candidate appeared on Fox, choking back tears as he explained that bringing Gabriel home “was a tremendously healing experience for all of us,” and that their goal was to “recognize the dignity” of Gabriel’s life, and to “affirm the memory” of his life.

Now Mrs. Santorum, who is a nurse, has added her voice to her husband’s, strongly disputing Colmes’ account of what happened. “We brought Gabriel home from the hospital to have a funeral mass and to bury him,” she said. “And so, they twist it and they make it sound like it was some crazy thing. ... We brought him home from the hospital to introduce him to our kids and to place him. It was for the funeral mass and the burial.

“What is so sad to me is that no one can tell me how to grieve, and I’m not going to tell anyone else how to grieve. It’s not right. People have very intense personal experiences and grief is something that is so intensely painful and personal that we all have to grieve in our own way.”

When asked what she would like to say to those who criticized their method of grieving, Mrs. Santorum responded: “I pray that they will never lose a child and I pray that they will never know the depth of pain of losing a child.”

Mrs. Santorum also responded to reports that in her early twenties she moved in with a physician who was 40 years her senior, and who also performed abortions as part of his practice. Santorum’s relationship with the abortionist has been repeatedly cited in the mainstream press.

“I went through a phase, it was a phase, and made some stupid decisions,” she told CBS. “I did some stupid things. And I did go through a phase of life when I wasn’t living the way I should have been. And for anyone out there ... who’s in the same phase, there is healing, there is change.”

She also used the question to reaffirm her pro-life views.

“I just feel very strongly about faith and family, and I also feel very strongly about life - the life issue. And now that we have a special needs little girl, I feel especially stronger about the dignity and value of every person from the moment of conception until death,” she said.

Mrs. Santorum also criticized the media for trying to “corner” her husband on social issues, and to make it look like he “doesn’t know anything else.”

“You know, every aspect of this race, any issue out there, he’s brilliant,” she said.