It turns out that presidential candidate Herman Cain is personally pro-life, but legislatively pro-choice, as he explained to Piers Morgan in a CNN interview on Wednesday night. Susan Archer of ABC News blogs a concise transcript of the abortion part:
“I believe that life begins at conception and abortion, under no circumstances,” Cain told Morgan. Pressed on if he would apply this same directive to his grandchildren, Cain candidly responded.
“It comes down to, it’s not the government’s role or anybody’s role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that number. What I’m saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that the 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. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”
So while Cain indicated a personal objection to abortion, he alluded to an individual’s right to choose. “I can have an issue on a opinion without it being a directive on the nation. The nation shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.”
Cain has been all over the map on the abortion question. A couple of weeks ago, he made a tortured defense of his position to John Stossel of Fox News, which could be viewed as an early trial run of the “apples and oranges” Jedi mind trick Cain has been unsuccessfully using to deflect certain questions about his 999 Plan:
So, is Herman Cain pro-life or pro-choice? Answer: Yes.
This is going to hurt Cain, and not just because pro-lifers will be dismayed by his equivocation. The GOP base, including the fiscal-conservative segment that doesn’t have strong pro-life views, is not looking for candidates who try to straddle both sides of tough questions by pumping out billowing clouds of verbal smoke.
There’s a third person involved in the abortion question, and they don’t get to vote on the procedure at all. As stated, Cain’s position boils down to helplessly shrugging and going along with abortion on demand, even though he finds it personally repugnant. He can’t just cross his fingers and hope the pro-life community has no further questions after hearing him say “I believe that life begins at conception and abortion, under no circumstances.” He’s very clearly hoping nobody asks the logical follow-up question: “So what do you plan to do about it?” His answer, which currently stands at “nothing,” had to be pulled out of him with tweezers.
If Cain has a different answer, he needs to give it quickly, forcefully, and consistently.
Update: Herman Cain said via Twitter this afternoon: “I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.” So I guess anyone who was rationalizing his previously declared “I’m personally opposed to abortion but I don’t think the government should interfere with it” position is out of luck.
Unless “I’m 100% pro-life. End of story” isn’t the end of the story.