"The Personhood agenda made a 'giant leap' forward this week," announced its proponents in a statement on Thursday, as it won the endorsement of Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich. Gingrich signed off on Personhood USA's pledge and lent his support for legal protections beginning at conception, a position that the group has promoted nationally and through measures in a number of states.
The pledge states 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." Signers also endorse "a human life amendment to the Constitution" and as well as "legislation to make it clear that 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children. This was also included as a plank in the Republican Party platform for the 2008 election.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum have also signed the pledge, but so far, Gingrich is the only of the candidates to sign on who apparently has an actual chance of securing the Republican nomination.
Personhood advocates were dealt a setback when their ballot measure failed in Mississippi last month. But they have continued to push for measures that declare life as beginning at conception. The other prime contender for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, has waffled on the issue in the past.