In his attempt to win the GOP nomination, Newt Gingrich has had no problem discarding old positions and embracing a more conservative stance when it comes to government intervention in women’s fertility. To placate the right-wing base of the party, he’s even parroting the rhetoric of the radical personhood movement, which is pursuing legislation that would not only criminalize all abortion but outlaw common forms of birth control as well.
Now the supposedly “pro-life” candidate is backing another goal of the personhood movement — making it more difficult for couples to conceive through in vitro fertilization:
Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich called Sunday for a commission to study the ethical issues relating to in vitro fertilization clinics, where infertile women receive treatment to get pregnant and large numbers of embryos are created.
“If you have in vitro fertilization you are creating life. And therefore we should look seriously at what should the rules be for clinics that do that because they’re creating life,” said Gingrich, who opposes abortion and says life begins at conception.
Gingrich, who is campaigning for votes in Tuesday’s Florida primary, did not expand on his proposal for a commission. His remarks seemed to open the possibility of a larger federal role over IVF clinics across the country than currently exists.
As ThinkProgress previously reported, personhood legislation could ban couples from conceiving children through IVF, or at least drastically change how it’s practiced, making it less effective and more dangerous. Personhood USA — and now Gingrich too apparently — disapproves of IVF because the process involves discarding embryos.
Although IVF has long been an accepted practice for helping couples struggling with infertility to get pregnant, religious extremists have condemned it for allowing doctors to “play God.” Around 58,000 American IVF babies are born each year, comprising more than 1 percent of all births in the U.S.