Newly emerged GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain does not do well under public scrutiny. He has “no idea” how his gimmicky 999 tax plan works in practice. He mixes up our nation’s founding documents. And his weak grasp of foreign policy even inspired his fellow GOP contender Newt Gingrich to worry that Cain is “not ready for prime time.”
So it probably should be surprising that last week Cain actually managed to confuse himself — and everyone at Fox Business’s Stossel show — over a much more basic yes or no question: Should abortion be legal?
At first, Cain offered a simple answer: “I’m pro-life from conception, yes.” But when host Stossel asked whether there are any cases in which abortion should be legal (such as rape or incest), Cain then declared, “I don’t think government should make that decision.” Recognizing the conflict, Stossel endeavored to clear up exactly where Cain stood on abortion — an attempt that led Cain to completely contradict himself by offering three different positions. He began with his anti-choice stance:
CAIN: I support life from conception. No people shouldn’t 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.
An understandably “confused” Stossel then asks Cain whether a rape victim should have the right to get an abortion. Cain then offers position 2:
CAIN: That’s her choice. That’s not government choice. I support life from conception.
STOSSEL: So abortion should be legal.
CAIN: No abortion should not be legal.
A now thoroughly perplexed Stossel asserts, “I’m not getting it, I’m not understanding it” and helps Cain understand the obvious flaw: “If it’s her choice, then that means it’s legal.” Cain replies with position 3:
CAIN: No! I don’t believe a woman should have an abortion. Does that help to clear it up?
STOSSEL: Even if she is raped.
CAIN: Even if she is raped or she is the victim of incest because there are other options. We must protect the sanctity of life and I have always believed that. Real clear.
Cain has tried to have it both ways on an issue before. But his struggle to fully reject a sexual assault victim’s freedom offers a window into just how radical this increasingly common position among the right-wing is. Not only does such a blind position defy the constitution, it callously robs a victim who had no choice in whether or not to be assaulted her last remaining choice in regards to her own body. It is also important to note that Cain’s “life at conception” policy could criminalize pregnancy prevention methods for women as well.
Cain is no closer to figuring out exactly how he feels about this ludicrously radical position. On NBC Sunday, he declared that abortions should be illegal “under any circumstance” even in cases of rape or incest. However, when asked about whether the procedure should be allowed to save the life of the mother, he once again deviated from his position. “If it’s the life of the mother, that family is going to have to make that decision.”