As Herman Cain surges in the polls, his personal faith is coming to the forefront of media coverage. The Blaze has joined other outlets in exploring what, exactly, the GOP presidential contender believes about God, freedom of religion and related subject matter.
Now, Cain's stance on abortion is under the microscope, as critics see both confusion and contradiction in the statements he has made about the fiery social issue.
A few months ago, critics ramped up their questioning when Cain hashed the issue out with Fox Business News' John Stossel. Here's how Daily Intel (in a piece called "Does Herman Cain Understand the Abortion Debate?") frames Cain's views on the matter:
Cain says "people shouldn't just be free to abort," but also says that "government shouldn't make that decision." He thinks that if a woman is raped, getting an abortion is "her choice, that is not government's choice," but then adds that abortion shouldn't be allowed in the case of rape "because there are other options" and "we must protect the sanctity of life."
It was as if Cain had no familiarity with or understanding of the role that government plays in the debate over abortion rights. He had simply gathered some common abortion-related words and phrases — "her choice," "government's decision", "sanctity of life" — then randomly assembled them into sentences.
Watch Cain's seemingly confusing comments on Fox, below:
On this past Sunday's "Meet the Press," Cain, once again, commented about abortion. Watch his statements, below:
Again, some feel that Cain was not being clear about where he stands. As Daily Intel points out, when David Gregory asked him if his opposition to abortion is as strong in cases of rape and incest, Cain said, "That family is going to have to make that decision."
But if Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned, then there would be a potential that families would no longer have the right to make that very complex decision. Here, it seems Cain was, again, vague. And in a third instance -- on Wednesday night -- the former businessman appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan," where the following dialogue surrounding abortion took place (via Daily Intel):
CAIN: I believe that life begins at conception. And abortion under no circumstances. And here's why --
MORGAN: No circumstances?
CAIN: No circumstances.
MORGAN: Because many of your fellow candidates — some of them qualify that.
CAIN: They qualify but —
MORGAN: Rape and incest.
CAIN: Rape and incest.
MORGAN: Are you honestly saying — again, it's a tricky question, I know.
CAIN: Ask the tricky question.
MORGAN: But you've had children, grandchildren. If one of your female children, grandchildren was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?
CAIN: You're mixing two things here, Piers?
CAIN: You're mixing —
MORGAN: That's what it comes down to.
CAIN: No, 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 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 have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.
MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively — you might be president. You can't hide behind now the mask, if you don't mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.
CAIN: No they don't. 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 social decisions that they need to make.
MORGAN: That's a very interesting departure —
MORGAN: — from the normal politics.
Here, again, it seems like Cain is taking a more libertarian view on the matter of abortion. While he opposes it on moral grounds in any circumstance, he's essentially saying that the government shouldn't tell people what decision to make about such a sensitive "social decision." Mediaite's Alex Alvarez concludes:
So, there you have it: Herman Cain is against abortion, personally, but is firmly pro-choice, as he believes the government should not intervene in social decisions. And that extends to same-sex marriage, by the way. As you may recall, Cain said recently, during an appearance on Meet The Press, that “I wouldn’t seek a constitutional ban for same-sex marriage, but I am pro-traditional marriage.”
The problem, as critics and reporters like Alvarez are noting, is that there are many in the pro-choice movement who would agree with Cain's statements. Also, Cain makes it a point to say that he can have a viewpoint that doesn't necessarily translate into policy (or the direction of the nation for that matter). But with abortion standing as such a politically-flammable issue, one wonders how these complex views would translate into policy.
In June, after declining to sign the Susan B. Anthony anti-abortion pledge, Cain issued the following statement:
“I support right-to-life issues unequivocally and I adamantly support the first three aspects of the Susan B. Anthony pledge involving appointing pro-life judges, choosing pro-life cabinet members, and ending taxpayer-funded abortions. [...]
“I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro life issues. In no way does this singular instance of clarification denote an abandonment of the pro-life movement, but instead, is a testament to my respect for the balance of power and the role of the presidency.”
So, based on the evidence, the question remains: Is Herman Cain pro-life or pro-choice? More clarification is clearly needed to make a solid determination.