UPDATE 12/3, 7:49a: In light of Gingrich’s comment yesterday, Dr. David Prentice has listed all the presidential candidates’ statements on embryonic stem cell research at the Family Research Council Action blog.
12/2, 3:41p: For such a supposedly smart man, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich sure is stupid on the subject of biology. Gingrich told ABC’s Jake Tapper today:
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. In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. I have been for, there are a lot of different ways to get embryonic stem cells. I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood if you can get it in ways that do not involve the loss of a life that’s a perfectly legitimate avenue of approach.
So what if “an extraordinary range of very difficult questions” is opened up by the biological fact that life begins at conception? Is Newt saying truths shift depending on how tough they are to discuss?
And s/he is not a “fertilized egg.” S/he is an “embryo.”
And, 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.”
Finally, placental stem cells are NOT embryonic stem cells. They are adult stem cells.
I have never trusted Gingrich on the Life issue. How can someone who calls himself pro-life support taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research?
Of all the Republican presidential candidates, Rick Santorum has the best record on the Life issue and is the most articulate. Michele Bachmann is good, too. Ron Paul is a Stephen Douglas on abortion – let the states decide. Cain speaks gobbledygook on abortion and is toast anyway. I think Perry is toast, too, although he’s also good on the Life issue. (He said his Gardasil executive order was a mistake, and I believe him.) UPDATE: Someone just asked me about Huntsman, one of many nonstarters I’m not going to bother with.
Mitt Romney? Even though he hasn’t signed Susan B. Anthony List’s pledge, I still trust him on the Life issue way more than Gingrich. People call Romney a flip-flopper, but he flopped our way. We must welcome converts. And Romney vetoed a bill to fund embryonic stem cell research. He’s more than talk.
Gingrich picked a sorry hill to die on. He apparently doesn’t know embryonic stem cell research is so 2000s.