GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said he would support legislation that defines “personhood as beginning at conception,” a reversal from his comments last week that life begins at “implantation.”
“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception,” a statement posted Saturday on Gingrich’s website read in part. “I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived.”
The implantation stance would leave the door open for scientific research on fertilized embryonic stem cells, which Gingrich in his statement says he opposes.
“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,” the message says. “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.”
Although Gingrich is currently leading the polls in Iowa, many believe the candidate is vulnerable on social issues, such as abortion, among the conservative Iowa caucus-going electorate that will be casting ballots in less than a month.
Gingrich is for abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger, although he, and all of the candidates except Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, signed the Susan B. Anthony list requiring candidates “advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs.”
“I support Congress enacting pro-life legislation under the 14th Amendment, including legislation that would define personhood as beginning at conception,” Gingrich’s message continued.
He also said in the statement that he would defund Planned Parenthood.