Gingrich: Life Begins at “Implantation” Not “Fertilization”

Does seven to fourteen days really make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of things?  Well, it does if you are a Republican presidential contender trying to woo social conservatives to your side.

One of the largest pushes in the anti-abortion activists groups this year has been for state constitutional amendments defining life as beginning at the moment that an egg is fertilized.  This push to redefine “personhood” has been rejected by the voters in every election contest it has come up in, yet still most anti-choice activists refuse to consider any bill that stops shy of saying that conception equals an entirely new person which should have every legal right and protection that a fully born human receives.

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is taking a very slightly more moderate approach to the issue, and stating instead that life begins at the moment of implantation — or roughly 7-14 days after fertilization, once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus.  There is a myriad of reasons why this makes much more sense, not the least of which is that fact that science defines pregnancy as not occurring until after implantation.  Ask any woman who has undergone IVF if she is pregnant simply because she has a dish of fertilized embryos, and she’ll tell you bluntly that getting those embryos is often the easy part, and she’s still a long way from being pregnant.

Defining life as beginning at implantation would likely be a huge asset for anti-choice activists wanting to pass “personhood” bills that would in essence ban abortion, as it would get rid of a number of complications that come from the fertilization definition.  It would no longer interfere with IVF procedures, it wouldn’t compromise some forms of birth control, and it would still eliminate abortion long before a woman would know she was pregnant.  After all, your body doesn’t even begin secreting the hormones that show on a pregnancy test until after implantation, and a vast number of fertilized eggs simply don’t implant, meaning the woman was never technically pregnant.  How can life have “begun” and be “protected” if a pregnancy hasn’t even started yet?

But their end goal isn’t just to ban abortion — it’s to also ban birth control, infertility treatments (unless you allow your additional embryos to be put up for “adoption” for strangers to use, or keep them frozen indefinitely), stem cell research and all of the rest.  And that is why candidates like Michele Bachmann are saying that Gingrich’s stance is simply not “pro-life” enough. “The statement made today was highly troubling. Life begins at conception…This, along with his inconsistent record on life, is just one more indication that Newt is not dedicated to protecting the lives of the unborn and doesn’t share the most basic of conservative principles.”

Can Bachmann, Rick Santorum and the like really turn a one week difference into a policy that can oust Gingrich from winning the nomination? They are most definitely trying to do so.


Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Nicholas L.
Nicholas L6 years ago

if you want to be technical life actually began way before any of those points the gametes are just as alive as any other cell in your body. I think the real argument people should be concerned with is when does self-awareness or consciousness start. That is pretty much impossible to tell with the knowledge we have now. Most evidence points to the brain development as the start of this. To say that the early cell division is the point of consciousness is a little far-fetched, the cells respond to chemical signals that tell them to divide. Therefore you must then believe all of your cells in your body are conscious and you don't have one single consciousness but many trillion. I really dislike the way politics dress up their arguments with science, on both sides, unless they are going to explain the science more thoroughly don't bring it into the picture. Politics should be shown for what it is a set of beliefs, either you believe this or that.

It takes a lot of time for scientist to prove these things, and throwing this information around so liberally just makes the people go back and forth over what is fact and what is hypothesis. Neither side of this debate could honestly be proven as fact until we have a deeper understanding of biology. I don't believe that people should end something that has the chance to be a life, but I also believe that if a woman is raped and gets pregnant the life of that child would not be a happy one, so every woman should have the right to cho

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

To each his/her own but that's "their" own, not everybody's.

Marie Russell-Barker

The religious right have the bible all wrong, how could they be so wrong and against women's rights. Women rights are human rights.

William Baylor
William Baylor6 years ago

Understand something about Republicans Conservative Christians! Pro Life: What it really means! Republican conservative 'jesus freaks' s want to even make abortion
illegal even if your raped and ever person running for the Republican conservative party has stated that already on TV so it's no secret, so if they become President,
their first agenda is to make it the law! They want you to keep the child that you or your 12 year old daughter had by a rapist. Gee, he goes to jail and comes out a
few years later and gets a lawyer to get him visitation rights and he shows up at your house and knocks on your door, says hello to your husband and says, I came to
visit my child!. Excuse me! You people that want this are either sick or just plain morons or did you not think this thing through to the end result. I guess you are going
to invite him in for a cup of coffee! Next, they will want you to marry your rapist!!

Lindy E.
Belinda E6 years ago

Michael W made a valid point: the Republican party "does ZERO to address issues why women abort in the first case." They actually care zip about the unborn baby, or they would be pushing ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to promote the welfare of already-born children. This isn't a conviction they hold; it's nothing but a political ploy.

Frank Y.
.6 years ago

No. Critical thinking is the issue. This is all about critical thinking.

Ivan R.
Ivan R.6 years ago

Aren't there other, more important issues? Unemployment, fiscal responsibility and poverty for the possible nominees to argue over?
I guess it comes down to saying whatever gets him/her elected.

Frank Y.
.6 years ago

Frankly speaking, I don't care what you do...but when your actions affect other people such as having the rest of us pay for your irresponsible actions then it does concern others. It has nothing to do with the pain of child birth or being a woman or having ovaries. I do believe that if you are a "sexual creature" that you should take some caring, loving precautions not to get pregnant and affect the future of an innocent creature who pays for your irresponsibility. You want random sex...sexual pleasure? Go to a house of prostitution whether you are man or woman that would be set up to give you your pleasure but prevent the ugly action of an abortion. I would be happy to donate to the cause to create these "houses". It would be a kind thing to do to reduce future abortions. How would you like to be reborn to just become an abortee? Sound nice? It is ugly and extremely selfish to abort a fetus without good reason. How many abortions are you willing to accept? They are approaching a couple of million per year now! Try to think about what I am saying before you get all undone about somebody telling you what to do. After are saying to the abortee, "I banish you from life because of my irresponsibility (in many cases)."

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

Newt's brain stopped working in 1995. Too much blood flows to his head, and that is why he has such a big fat oversized head.