October 20 2011
Stories: Cain’s Abortion Blunder
We recently learned that Herman Cain, who seemed unfamiliar with the term “neoconservative,” hasn’t been paying much attention to key foreign policy debates in recent years. Now we know that he hasn’t been paying close attention to the abortion debate either.
On Wednesday evening, Cain gave a rather baffling interview about social issues to CNN’s Piers Morgan. “I believe that life begins at conception, and abortion under no circumstances,” he said, echoing previous statements. But moments later, responding to a question about rape and incest, he suggested that he doesn’t intend to impose his personal beliefs on the country. “What I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make,” he said. “Not me as president. Not some politician. Not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family… 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.”
Anti-abortion activists were shocked. Some, bowing to political realism, are willing to back a candidate who would allow abortion when a pregnancy results from a violation. But Cain’s remarks contradicted what he said just a few days ago, when he explicitly told NBC’s David Gregory that he opposed exceptions for rape and incest “[B]ecause if you look at rape and incest, the percentage of those instances is so minuscule that there are other options.” Beyond that, Cain’s rhetoric, with its separation of personal morality from public policy, echoed that of the abortion-rights More>