Justice

Timeline: Cain Offers His Fifth Position On Abortion, Now Allows Exceptions For Rape Or Incest

Pizza mogul Herman Cain desperately wants to be a “pro-life” candidate, but he just can’t seem to figure out exactly what that means. After weeks of contradictory positions on whether abortion should be legal, Cain finally seemed to land on the idea that he is “pro-life, no exceptions.” In an attempt to clarify if that indeed means “no exceptions,” CNN reached out to Team Cain to get a definitive answer. As it turns out, “no exceptions” does not mean “no exceptions” to Cain. According to the campaign, Cain now believes that abortions should be allowed in cases of “rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at stake”:

[A] campaign adviser said Cain follows the same policy used by the George W. Bush administration, which said abortions should be allowed in the instances of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at stake.

“He has learned more about the issue,” including the number of women affected in those instances, the adviser told CNN, explaining Cain’s view.

Cain’s latest position will undoubtedly roil anti-choice activists who have been leading the country down a radical road towards bans on abortions under any and all circumstances. That walk is not so easy for Cain, who struggles to reconcile his “pro-life from conception” stance with his belief that government should stay out of people’s private lives. As such, he’s left a confusing trail of conflicting abortion positions that complicate any consistency or conviction he claims to have. In fact, Cain has traveled from one side of the issue to the other over the span of one month:

Abortion Is ‘Her Choice’: Over the course of one Fox News interview on Oct. 11, Cain insisted that “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.” But when asked whether a rape victim should have the choice, Cain said, “That’s her choice. That’s not government choice.”

Don’t Tell Women What To Do: On Oct. 19, Cain seemed to further his seemingly pro-choice position. “It’s not the government’s role, or anybody else’s role, to make that decision” on whether a sexual assault victim should seek an abortion, he said. “It ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president.”

A Family Can Have An ‘Illegal’ Abortion: On Oct. 20, Cain tried to shut out the uproar over his confusion: “I am 100 percent pro-life. End of story.” But the very next day, he added another chapter to his position. “Look, abortion should not be legal. That is clear. But if the family made a decision to break the law, that’s that family’s decision. That’s all I’m trying to say,” he said on Fox.

Pro-Life, No Exceptions: In that same interview, Cain finally declared that he was “pro-life from conception, no exceptions.” Apologetic for his “problematic” answers, he stated with finality, “I don’t know how much more I can say that if I am pro-life from conception no exceptions.

Pro-Life, With Exceptions: As noted, Cain’s campaign clarified yesterday that Cain actually does believe in exceptions and that “Abortions should be allowed in the instances of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at stake.”

Cain’s confusion has already caused “real damage” with anti-choice activists who see him as holding a “pro-choice” position. The only thing that can be confidently stated is that whatever position he holds now, it is unlikely to be his position in the next few days.