Ben Carson on Abortion: “Once Conception Has Been Achieved, That is Human Life”

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2015   |   10:08AM   |   Washington, DC

After an interview that left some pro-life people with questions about where he stands, pro-life Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he believes that human life begins at conception.

In a weekend interview with “This Week” on ABC News, Carson said that the beginning of human life is clearly at conception — when the union of sperm and egg confers a new and unique human being.

“I believe that once conception has been achieved, that it is a human life,” Carson told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “What I have said is that, you know, I have spent my life trying to save life, not trying to destroy it.”

Carson had made previous comments about human life beginning when, the unborn baby’s heartbeat begins — comments that made it appear he was hoping to get those who support abortion to at least agree that human life begins when the heart begins to beat if they can’t accept the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.

But he cleared that up in the ABC interview.

“What I believe is life starts at conception. I’ve said there are a lot of people who think that — that [life begins] at the heartbeat,” Carson said this morning. “And I think most people can come to the conclusion that once you have a heartbeat, that you clearly have a living organism.”

According to ABC News, Carson’s campaign further explained that Carson opposes rape and incest exceptions.

When asked for clarification of Carson’s response to rape and incest exceptions a spokesperson said, “Dr. Carson believes abortion is not acceptable after conception.”

Carson caused some questions for pro-life votes when he said last week that he would hope women would go to the emergency room after a rape to get the morning after pill. Carson appeared to have misspoke and said they should obtain the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill instead of saying they should obtain emergency contraception.

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“I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of the emergency room, and in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer RU-486 and other possibilities before you have a developing fetus,” Carson told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Wednesday.

Carson also continued to defend himself against what he has called false left-wing accusations that he used the body parts of unborn babies in research for a paper he submitted to a scientific journal in 1992.

“There is absolutely no contradiction between the research I worked on in 1992 and my pro-life views,” Carson said in a statement to ABC News. “Killing babies and harvesting tissue for sale is very different than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it, which is exactly the source of the tissue used in our research.”