After making headlines nationwide with curious comments in an interview in which many observers say he indicated he believes human life begins at implantation, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has restated his pro-life views.
In a new statement the Gingrich campaign sent to LifeNews.com over the weekend, the former House Speaker says repeatedly that he believes life begins at conception, that he is pro-life and that he would implement a pro-life agenda immediately after being sown in as president if he becomes the GOP nominee and defeats pro-abortion President Barack Obama.
“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception,” Gingrich said in the statement. “I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived. I also believe that we should work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law.”
“That is why I have supported, and will continue to support, pro-life legislation that not only limits, but also reduces, the total number of abortions, with a view to the eventual legal protection of all unborn human life,” Gingrich continued.
UPDATE: Joe DeSantis, the Communications Director for Newt 2012, responded to a request for clarification on whether Newt’s statement from this weekend defines conception as implantation or fertilization.
“Newt believes that human life begins at conception, that is, at the moment of fertilization,” DeSantis said.
Talking about what he would do initially as president, Gingrich said: “As I have also stated in the past, on day one of my administration, I will sign an executive order reinstating Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions overseas. I will also work with Congress to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood so that no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund abortions but rather transfer the money so it is used to promote adoption and other pro-family policies, and to enact legislation that provides greater protections for the unborn.”
Gingrich again noted he believes human life begins at conception, saying, “In terms of new pro-life legislation, I stated as recently as November 19 at a public form of candidates in Iowa that I support Congress enacting pro-life legislation under the 14th Amendment, including legislation that would define personhood as beginning at conception.”
During the controversial interview that got some pro-life advocates riled up, Gingrich said he opposes embryonic stem cell research that purposefully creates human life only to destroy it for dubious research. He repeated that opposition in the new statement.
“As I have also made clear in several of my public pronouncements throughout this campaign, I oppose federal funding of any research that destroys a human embryo because we are also dealing here with human life,” he said.
“My convictions on human life are longstanding, deeply felt, and irrevocable matters of conscience. I will do all in my power – always – to foster reverence for life,” he concluded.
As LifeNews previously reported, Gingrich told ABC News in an interview that human life begins at implantation rather than conception, which science has established as the starting point for human life.
Tapper asked him, “Abortion is a big issue here in Iowa among conservative Republican voters and Rick Santorum has said you are inconsistent. The big argument here is that you have supported in the past embryonic stem cell research and you made a comment about how these fertilized eggs, these embryos are not yet “pre-human” because they have not been implanted. This has upset conservatives in this state who worry you don’t see these fertilized eggs as human life. When do you think human life begins?”
“Well, I think the question of being implanted is a very big question,” Gingrich said. “My friends who have ideological positions that sound good don’t then follow through the logic of: ‘So how many additional potential lives are they talking about? What are they going to do as a practical matter to make this real?””
“I think that if you take a position when a woman has fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life,” he added. “Because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions.”
“So implantation is the moment for you,” Tapper said.
“Implantation and successful implantation. In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. I have been for, there are a lot of different ways to get embryonic stem cells. I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood if you can get it in ways that do not involve the loss of a life that’s a perfectly legitimate avenue of approach,” Gingrich explained.
“What I reject is the idea that we’re going to take one life for the purpose of doing research for other purposes and I think that crosses a threshold of de-humanizing us that’s very very dangerous,” he said.
Gingrich maintained a very strong pro-life voting record, according to the National Right to Life Committee, and has said the Republican Party needs to be pro-life.
“I think we’re clearly a pro-life party,” he once said. “We had a vice presidential nominee who was pro-life. I don’t see [this] as a significant change. I think that it is continuity in how this party has evolved over the last 30 years.”
“I think that abortion should not be legal,” he told American View. “Abortion is a very, very important moral question and I think it’s a very important question about the very nature of society. And I think that in terms of voting on the issue and speaking on the issue I’ve been pretty clear in my entire career. I did cite at the beginning of the book, that I think that people who are not certain how they feel about “right to life,” have in fact been coming our way.”
“There should be [legal protection for unborn children,],” Gingrich added. “And I think the focus has been on doctors performing abortions. And in that sense that we want to move the society as rapidly as we can that people should select adoption rather than abortion and that choosing abortion is not acceptable.”
LifeNews reporter Andrew Bair has extensively profiled Gingrich’s pro-life views.
Gingrich’s voting record on pro-life issues reflected the consensus pro-life views of the majority of Americans.
Gingrich voted in favor of a ban on partial-birth abortion. (President Clinton ultimately vetoed the bill and a ban was not signed into law until President Bush took office.) Gingrich also voted to cut federal funding to organizations that perform or promote abortions abroad, including the United Nations Population Fund, which is complicit in carrying out China’s One Child Policy. In addition, Gingrich supported restrictions on funding for assisted suicide.
In the 2012 presidential race, Gingrich has pledged to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, end taxpayer funding of abortion, de-fund Planned Parenthood and sign into law a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Gingrich is also committed to repealing the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law, which contains massive abortion funding and threats of rationing.