.- After drawing criticism for suggesting that human life begins at implantation, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich reaffirmed his commitment to protecting human life from conception.
In a statement sent by the Gingrich campaign to CNA, the former Speaker of the House reiterated his belief that “human life begins at conception” and that “every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived.”
He vowed to support pro-life legislation aimed at the ultimate goal of legally protecting “all unborn human life.”
Gingrich, a Catholic convert, sparked controversy when he said during a Dec. 2 interview with Jake Tapper of ABC News that life begins at implantation.
“I think that if you take a position when a woman has a fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life,” he said. “Because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions.”
He added that he is opposed to taking life “for the purpose of doing research” but supports stem cell experiments “that do not involve the loss of a life.”
Gingrich’s comments resulted in protests from pro-life groups, which led to a Dec. 3 statement clarifying his position.
He said in the statement that life begins at conception and that he is opposed to federal funding of research that destroys human embryos “because we are also dealing here with human life.”
Promising to do everything in his power “to foster reverence for life,” the GOP frontrunner assured Americans that his beliefs on human life “are longstanding, deeply felt, and irrevocable matters of conscience.”
He referenced his Nov. 19 remarks at the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, where he voiced his support for federal legislation defining “personhood” as beginning at conception.
Gingrich also repeated a previous campaign promise to sign an executive order on his first day in office to reinstate the Mexico City policy to prohibit taxpayer money from being used to fund overseas abortions.
In addition, he said that he will work to defund Planned Parenthood and “transfer the money so it is used to promote adoption and other pro-family policies.”
Throughout his 20 years in Congress, Gingrich maintained a strong pro-life voting record. He supported the Hyde Amendment and other bans on federal funding of abortion, as well as legislation prohibiting partial-birth abortion.
The National Right to Life Committee has given him a 98.6 percent lifetime rating for his pro-life voting record.