That’s the unexpected question many are asking this week in the wake of some contradictory comments made by the veteran businessman and Republican presidential candidate in a handful of recent interviews. First came this exchange between Cain and Fox Business Network’s John Stossel:
STOSSEL: Any cases where it should be legal?
CAIN: I don’t think government should make that decision.
STOSSEL: People should be free to abort a baby?
CAIN: I support life from conception. No, people shouldn’t just be free to abort because if we don’t protect the sanctity of life from conception, we will also start to play God relative to life at the end of life.
STOSSEL: So I’m confused on what your position is.
CAIN: My position is I’m pro-life. Period.
STOSSEL: If a woman is raped, she should not be allowed to end the pregnancy?
CAIN: That’s her choice. That is not government’s choice. I support life from conception.
STOSSEL: So abortion should be legal?
CAIN: No, abortion should not be legal. I believe in the sanctity of life.
Then, Cain said the following to CNN’s Piers Morgan, who asked what Cain would do if his daughter or granddaughter got raped:
No, it comes down to is, it’s not the government’s role — or anybody else’s role — to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician. Not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision […] I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.
Understandably, a conservative Republican suddenly saying abortion “ultimately gets down to a choice” raised a lot of red flags with a lot of people. Cain initially tried defusing the uproar with a brief tweet announcing, “I’m 100% pro-life. End of Story.” But politicians simply declaring their scandals over never goes well, so Cain elaborated further on Thursday and Friday, explicitly saying “abortion should not be legal” and explaining that he only meant two things: that the president alone “has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone,” and that “a lot of families would be in that position, and they’re not going to be thinking ‘Well, what does the government want me to do?’”
So, the position Cain’s sticking to is that abortion shouldn’t be legal under any circumstances, banned by the Human Life Amendment, and he pledges that as president, he’d appoint judges who “know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children,” “oppose government funding of abortion,” “veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood,” and “do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.” The question, then, is do we believe him?
Fortunately, if we look past these recent blunders, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Cain has a solid, even bold, record of standing for life. He’s backed the Human Life Amendment since 2003. He says Planned Parenthood should be called “planned genocide.” And as RedState blogger Leon Wolf points out, Cain put his money where his mouth was in 2006 when—without a political campaign in sight—he “donated $1 million of his own money in an attempt to encourage black voters to vote pro-life.” In that light, it seems his comments about government not making the decision really meant that government doesn’t have the authority to decide what circumstances make anyone less deserving of protection than anyone else.
Herman Cain may not be the clearest communicator, which may give people doubts about his effectiveness as a presidential candidate. But whatever else we may think of him, nobody should doubt that his intentions are firmly pro-life.
NOTE: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position of Live Action. Live Action does not endorse Federal candidates.