Wesley Smith highlights an interview that Speaker Gingrich gave to ABC News last month. In a conversation with Jake Tapper, Speaker Gingrich said that he did not believe that life begins at conception. Here’s the exchange:
TAPPER: 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?
GINGRICH: Well, I think the question of being implanted is a very big question. 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. Because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions
TAPPER: So implantation is the moment for you.
GINGRICH: Implantation and successful implantation.
Gingrich has said that he opposes embryonic stem cell research, but upon what moral principle does he oppose it? If the embryos aren’t human, why can’t they be destroyed? In this interview, he supports the right policy while at the same time undermining the moral basis for it. It makes his position sound more like an expediency than a conviction.
In a subsequent clarifying statement, Gingrich says that he believes after all that life begins at conception: read it here. I am not sure how a man with his length of experience botched the original answer, but there it is. Having said that, I still think his initial interview is relevant. It shows that he did not know what the principled pro-life position is on when life begins. It suggests that someone had to explain it to him after the fact. And it speaks to how committed he really is to the issue.