This Time Gingrich Steps in It - Handling the Life issueThe latest buzz circulating in the news and on the Internet is Newt Gingrich's interview with Jake Tapper and Gingrich's comments on when human life begins. Apparently Newt has forgotten his high school biology class lessons and the scientific definition of when and human life has his or her beginning. People will use the word "conception" to describe the formation of a zygote by the union of a make sperm and female ovum or the "beginning" of a human life. There is nothing ideological in such a description and it is very odd for Newt to so contend. In science the so-called "fertilized egg" term in reality is the human zygote or new human being.
So Newt really stepped in it this time. He fudges on the time line and implies that addressing the reality would make it difficult to consider other matters. Those in the now discredited area of embryonic stem cell research had long since tried to manipulate language to "create" terms to describe the human being at those first moments of life as "pre-human." It was a farce and everyone knew it. Now we have a throw back to such terms from someone who should know better.
In addition to his errors on fertilization and implantation, Newt also gets it wrong regarding stem cell research. One does not obtain embryonic stem cells from the placenta. One obtains adult stem cells from the placenta, cord and blood. One only obtains embryonic stem cells from embryos and in order to obtain them, one must destroy the embryo.
In addition, as Ramesh Ponnuru points out, “Gingrich may have forgotten where he stood, but he did in fact back embryo-destructive stem-cell research in 2001.”
Jill Stanek makes a good point.
Of all the Republican presidential candidates, Rick Santorum has the best record on the Life issue and is the most articulate.
All of this reminds us that the pro-life issue is still a very critical issue in the Republican primary, that pro-life voters should demand clarity in explaining their positions, that simply saying one is "pro-life" is not enough, that explaining why one is pro-life is important. As for the flip-floppers like Romney, simply stating that he was always personally pro-life while espousing a very hard pro-choice line, demands that he condemn his past confusion and duplicity, ask forgiveness for his past transgressions and actively prove his conversion.
We in the pro-life movement have always welcomed converts. But sincerity is required. We in the pro-life movement have been misled by too many over the years. Promises have been made by politicians who had no intention of following through. The powers in Washington think very little of the movement as a whole and the mainstream media even less. Those who hold the pro-life view as a threshold issue must be firm in holding those politicians who seek their vote to the test. For someone as wealthy as Mitt Romney, what percentage of his wealth has been used to make amends of the years of his "pro-choice" heresy? What has he done as a man to tell people how terrible abortion is and how it harms women, children and families? Where were these people now running for office when we needed their voices to stand up for life?
And Newt, when you were Speaker of the House, why did you not advance the pro-life agenda? Why did we have to beg for scraps? Why did the Caucus not cut out Planned Parenthood funding then - when the Republicans controlled both houses?
Now is the time for clarity. The current occupant of the White House is the most pro-abortion president in our nation's history. His actions have damaged the family and the country. Whoever succeeds him must have the welfare of the human person and respect for human life as his or her first priority. Such a philosophy will affect all policies foreign and domestic. It is the least we can ask from someone seeking to be president. Defend all innocent human life.