By Dave Andrusko
When we last talked on Friday, we brought you GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s initial clarifications of what he said about abortion Thursday on CNN’s Piers Morgan program. After his appearance he had been criticized by fellow GOP presidential candidates former Senator Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Cain adamantly insisted he had not backtracked on his opposition to abortion, saying in several forums since that he is “100% pro-life” and would support a pro-life amendment to the Constitution. At a forum Saturday, Cain declared, “I believe abortion should be clearly stated as illegal across this country.”
The controversy began after Cain told Morgan that “I believe that life begins at conception and abortion under no circumstances. And here’s why,” when Morgan interrupted to pose a theoretical situation to Cain where a daughter or granddaughter of Cain’s had been raped: “You would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?”
“You’re mixing two things,” Cain responded.”It comes down to, it’s not the government’s role, or anybody else’s role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidence, 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 issue.”
Cain subsequently tweeted, “My answer [to Morgan] was focused on the role of the president. The president has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.” And “As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100 percent pro-life. End of story.”
On Friday Cain issued this statement:
“Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.
“I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion. My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.
“As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.
“I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.
“I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.”
In a Friday interview on Fox News, after saying “I am pro-life from conception and I don’t believe in abortion,” Cain was asked by Martha MacCallum to clarify his comments about the hypothetical pregnancy from rape. Cain said, “The only point I was trying to make: 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?’ ”
He added, “My position is no abortion, but all I was trying to point out was: take the typical family in this country, and you don’t know what they might do in the heat of the moment.”
Cain then gave an interview to David Brody, of the Christian Broadcasting Network, after Saturday’s Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Des Moines. [You can read the entire interview–and listen to it as well–at http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/10/22/herman-cain-exclusive-tells-brody-file-he-will-support-constitutional.aspx]
Brody: “Are you for some sort of pro-life amendment to the constitution that in essence would trump Roe v. Wade?”
Cain: “Yes. Yes I feel that strongly about it. If we can get the necessary support and it comes to my desk I’ll sign it. That’s all I can do. I will sign it.”
Brody also asked about the use of the Presidency as a “bully pulpit.”
Cain: “I believe that the office of the presidency and the bully pulpit should be used for that because I happen to believe that we have many instances where if you appeal to people’s hearts you can change their minds. I had the experience of visiting a facility in Houston, Texas not too long ago. It was a women’s facility, I can’t remember the name. I happened to be there that day, what they do, they work with young ladies who have gotten pregnant and they think they want an abortion. It was so moving to walk in there, and they introduced me to a young lady who had decided not to have an abortion, and see that pretty baby there. If you touch the hearts of people you can get people’s minds to change but you have to show them the beauty of not aborting a life. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest leaders this country has ever seen. How did he bring about the movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964? He touched the hearts of people. That’s what a President needs to have the ability to do, in order to change peoples’ minds.”
When asked by Brody what “lesson” he’d learned from all this, Cain said
“The lesson that I’m learning is that I’ve got to be careful of being pigeonholed because people can take a piece of tape and edit out the first half and only pull out one snippet that could start a firestorm. The tape that you are referring to, I said specifically, ‘I am pro-life, from conception, no abortions, no exceptions,’ but they only focus on a later part of it where they were trying to pigeonhole me with a specific situation. So, the lesson learned is beware of being pigeonholed, because you know they can pull it, and take it out of context.”
National Right to Life affirmed its confidence in Cain in an interview with National Review:
“Herman Cain’s pro-life,” David N. O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, told NR’s Katrina Trinko “He addressed our convention last June. We are quite confident in his pro-life position. When he ran in the primary for senate some years back … he ran as a pro-life candidate then in Georgia. We’ve known of him for a number of years, and he’s always taken a pro-life position.”
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