Herman Cain has said this week that he is pro-life and that abortion should be made illegal, but also that the government shouldn’t have any role in it and the decision should be left up to the woman and her family. As Kyle notes, it seems that Cain’s position is that abortion should be outlawed but “in situations where a family was deciding whether or not to break the law, it is none of the government’s business to tell them what to do.” Cain seems to be the only person who understands this view, and the Religious Right is not happy, to say the least.
Rick Perry’s campaign suggested that Cain, along with Mitt Romney, has “flip flopped” on the issue and Rick Santorum went so far as to call him “pro-choice.” Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Young Nance said that Cain “needs to decide whether or not he is a social conservative”:
Last week Herman Cain said he didn’t support a federal marriage amendment, this week he has backed away from his earlier position on the sanctity of human life. Herman Cain needs to decide whether or not he is a social conservative. The issue of life is like the issue of slavery, it is an inalienable right. The life issue is a dividing line proving whether or not a leader’s moral compass is intact. This is not a point on which social conservative women will negotiate. Cain needs to figure out what he believes.
Herman seems to be saying that he is pro-life with no exceptions for rape and incest — unless the family wants an exception, and then it’s none of his business.
In other words, Herman’s position on conceived-in-rape is virtually indistinguishable from the typical liberal position: personally pro-life, politically pro-abortion.
Although the rape and incest issue is obviously controversial, and a subset of the larger pro-life debate, this will create real problems for Herman in the campaign. It will be difficult for him to walk this one back.
Christian talk show host Janet Mefferd, like everyone it seems besides Cain, was utterly befuddled, saying that “his answer sounds awfully pro-choice,” charging, “that’s how the pro-abortion side talks!”
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber later called into Mefferd’s show and urged Cain to clarify:
Guy Benson of Townhall also writes that after watching Cain’s interviews with Piers Morgan and with John Stossel, where Cain said that “abortion should not be legal” but an abortion “is her choice, that is not government’s choice,” it seems that Cain’s position, on the face of it, is pro-choice:
I’m a bit mystified that I’m even asking this question, frankly, because I simply assumed Cain was rock solid on the life issue — but after a puzzling interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, I’m not sure what to think any more.
He starts out by saying he believes that life begins at conception, and that he supports “abortion under no circumstances.” When Morgan presses him on the government’s role in enforcing that belief — an exchange that at least begins with a hypothetical question about a rape exception — Cain begins to sound a lot like a “personally opposed to abortion, but still pro-choice” candidate. If you didn’t know the following quote came out of Herman Cain’s mouth, I wouldn’t blame you for presuming its source was a Democrat.