UPDATE 4:12p: Josh at CatholicVote.org has written a great follow-up post.
10:56a: I’m sorry to say the good people at CatholicVote.org are apparently starstruck. Blogged Josh Mercer yesterday:
I am very glad that the Gingrich campaign was quick to respond to the fallout from the ABC News interview and that they came out with a strong pro-life statement which reaffirms the scientific fact that life begins at conception.
Really? A personal note is all it takes to move past Newt Gingrich’s unequivocal statement to ABC’s Jake Tapper on December 2, that “when a woman has [a] fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life”?
Gingrich actually went further than that. When Tapper asked for clarification, “So implantation is the moment for you,” Gingrich more than reiterated, “Implantation and successful implantation.”
So Gingrich added he believes an embryo that does not successfully implant is not a human life either. This can only mean that Gingrich believes an embryo that may initially implant but later miscarries is not a life. What other explanation can there possibly be?
Gingrich campaign’s attempts at damage control
I’ll tell you something. The Gingrich campaign contacted me directly, too, sending me the same statement it sent CatholicVote.org and also contacting me via Twitter.
But Gingrich can’t say one day that life begins at implantation and the next that life begins at conception and get away with it.
One reason this is a huge deal is because in 2001 Gingrich supported federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, which President Obama is currently subsidizing at the rate of ~$145 million a year.
Would President Gingrich nullify that funding? Put his statement to Tapper together with his past support of taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, and I’d be wary, despite his campaign promise to National Right to Life.
Gingrich needs to be asked how he lines his Tapper statement and his past support of taxpayer funded escr with his weekend statement, “I oppose federal funding of any research that destroys a human embryo because we are also dealing here with human life.”
In fact, I tried. I asked for just a 10-minute interview with Gingrich. Here was his campaign’s answer:
Why? Not to toot my own horn, but this is the most widely read strictly pro-life blog in the U.S., as I indicated to the Gingrich campaign. To give me a satisfactory answer clearing up this whole controversy would go a long way.
I also tried through Twitter. His campaign had sent me a link to this video…
… in which Gingrich said on November 19 he advocated Congress passing a law which defines personhood as commencing at conception.
This is great but again stands in contradiction to the crystal clear statement Gingrich made only two weeks later that life begins at implantation.
Thus, I tweeted Gingrich’s campaign, “So he supports something he thinks should be illegal?” In other words, Gingrich, supported embryonic stem cell research in 2001, and somewhat in 2011 (his statement to Tapper on escr was pretty impossible to understand), but also in 2011 he thought human life should be legally protected from the moment of conception? I got no response.
No, this isn’t over, not unless and until Gingrich renounces his statement to Tapper as a mistake.