[Gingrich suggested that implantation, not conception, should mark the line for when life begins.]
The independent existence of the United States began with just such an account of ideas: the self-evident truths and unalienable rights America’s founders held to be the basis of just government.
Of all the candidates on the GOP stage, a professor of American history such as Newt Gingrich is the one we’d least expect to speak without regard for this fact. That’s especially true when he is speaking about the issue (respect for the unalienable human right to life) that in our day most explicitly raises the question of the nation’s adherence to those Declaration principles. Mr. Gingrich is well aware of the fact that the American revolutionaries who promulgated the Declaration looked to the Creator as the origin and source of human life, and to “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God” as the source of each individual’s unalienable right to life. Yet in his answer to the question “When does life begin?” he makes no reference to God’s creation. He speaks as if the issue of the beginning of human life is simply a matter of human opinion; what Newt Gingrich, or Alan Keyes, or any other merely human being thinks about it.
Mr. Gingrich treats the issue of respect for life as if it is simply a matter of personal opinion. In such merely human contentions, the strongest opinion (which usually means the opinion of the strongest) is most likely to rule. If the contest comes to blows, this means military strength. Or it may mean wealth, or the force of greater numbers. If, however, the right and wrong of it depends on a will that transcends human power (which is what the Declaration of Independence declares), then a right judgment about when life begins cannot be made without reference to that will...
The moment when life is present is therefore God’s decision. It does not depend on our will and decision, but on His. As we cannot claim to be privy to all the workings of God’s mind, we cannot claim to know with certainty how or when His decision is made. In that respect life is like a manuscript prepared in secret, which we can read only after it is published in a form accessible to our understanding. As human beings come more and more to decode and understanding the language in which it is conveyed, we can better ascertain which is the first page; the first sentence; the first word of that publication.
There was no doubt a time when human comprehension of life’s beginning went no further than the moment of the child’s emergence into the world at birth. But today’s scientific techniques allow us to read signs once invisible to our mind’s eye. We can make out the male and female information that combine into one expression of humanity at the very moment of physical conception.
In light of this greater understanding, and contrary to Mr. Gingrich’s assertion to Jake Tapper, the Declaration’s account of the source of human life leaves no “extraordinary range of very difficult questions.” At the moment of physical conception God’s manuscript is already done, His program for each human being complete. Faced with a fact of undeniable human nature, justice demands that we respect the right as God has determined it. We have no more leeway to disregard this right in others, because of our opinion of their physical condition, than others have on that same account to disregard it in us. This is the first fruit of what it means to say we are all “created equal.”
Given his academic background, I find it hard to believe that Mr. Gingrich has never considered this reasoning.
Alan Keyes, Loyal to Liberty 36 Comments
[1/7/2012 11:01:06 AM]
Fundie Index: 41