December 15, 2011 — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has signed a pledge supporting the "personhood" movement, which seeks to outlaw abortion by granting constitutional rights to fertilzed eggs, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. GOP presidential candidates Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) also signed the pledge, created by the group Personhood USA (Baker , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 12/14).
The pledge asks candidates to affirm that "every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and is endowed by our creator with the unalienable right to life." The pledge does not outline details of the "human life" amendment it calls for, nor does it define when human life begins -- an issue on which Gingrich has been inconsistent.
Dawn Laguens -- executive vice president for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund -- said that the three candidates who signed the pledge are "out of touch" on women's reproductive health issues. "As media have reported, these so-called 'personhood' initiatives are an extreme government intrusion into the private lives of women and families and could outlaw in vitro fertilization, common forms of birth control and cancer treatment for pregnant women," she said (Bassett, Huffington Post, 12/14).
Gingrich Promises Executive Orders, Targets Planned Parenthood at Forum
Gingrich on Wednesday also said that if elected, he would immediately sign an executive order reinstating a ban on foreign aid for groups that support abortion rights, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. Speaking at Fox News antiabortion forum hosted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Gingrich also pledged to issue an executive order implementing President George W. Bush's version of "conscience" protections for health care workers who refuse to participate in services they morally oppose.
Further, Gingrich pledged to sponsor legislation that would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and redirect the funds to adoption services. He also said Congress should pass a law declaring that life begins at conception and block the courts from reviewing the statute (Baker , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 12/14).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership