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October 21st, 2011

Vander Plaats on Cain’s Abortion Stance: “Sounds like John Kerry in 2004”

Herman Cain’s recent statements regarding abortion surprised the CEO of one of Iowa’s most prominent social conservative organizations. During an interview earlier this week with CNN’s Piers Morgan, while claiming to be against all abortions, Cain seemed to indicate that government should not be involved in deciding if abortions are legal or illegal. The comments did not go over well with Bob Vander Plaats.

Cain participated in The FAMiLY Leader’s “Presidential Lecture Series” in June and Vander Plaats spent that day traveling around Iowa with him. “When I was with him, everything he said was ‘I’m 100% pro-life’,” Vander Plaats told TheIowaRepublican. “In watching the interview on CNN, he said basically said, ‘I’m pro-life, but I don’t want to force my views on others.’ That’s a pro-choice stance. That’s a Democrat view. That sounds just like John Kerry in 2004.”

The CNN interview is not the first time Cain has made such statements regarding the abortion issue. Here is the transcript and video of an interview Cain did with Fox Business Network’s John Stossel in July, where Cain clearly says he does not think government should determine whether or not abortion is legal:

Stossel: A quickie, a quick question on one more hot subject – abortion …”

Cain: Yes 

Stossel: You’re against it … 

Cain: I’m pro-life from conception, yes 

Stossel: Any cases where it should be legal?

Cain: I don’t think government should make that decision. I don’t believe that government should make that decision.

Stossel: People should be free to abort a baby …

Cain: I support life from conception. No, people shouldn’t be just 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. 

Stossel: I’m confused on what your position is. If a …

Cain: My position is I’m pro-life, period.

Stossel: … woman is raped she should not be allowed to end the pregnancy? 

Cain: That’s her choice. That is not government’s choice. I support life from conception.

Stossel: So abortion should be legal.

Cain: No abortion should not be legal. I believe in the sanctity of life. 

Stossel: I’m not getting..I’m not understanding. If it’s her choice, that means its legal. 

Cain: 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’s answers are confusing to many people, including the interviewers. He seems to be giving an anti-abortion, yet pro-choice stance. Cain opposes abortions under any circumstances, but does not believe government should ban them.

Following an uproar from pro-lifers, Herman Cain released a statement on Thursday, trying to clarify his stance:

“Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President. I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion.

My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey. As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.

I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.

I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.”

However, Cain’s statement has not quelled the backlash among Iowa activists and conservatives around the nation. Nor does it accurately reflect the CNN interview in its full context, much less the Fox interview from July. Cain tried to clarify his stance during another interview with Fox News on Friday afternoon, but the damage might already be done.

“There’s no doubt that he knows it’s caused him a problem and so I think for me as well as well as other conservatives, what we’re going to look at now at the authenticity,” Vander Plaats said. “What’s real? I think that’s all part of the vetting process.”

Vander Plaats watched Cain’s most recent Fox News interview. “He’s definitely walking that back, now saying where he believes abortion should be illegal. I think we’re starting to see this happen with Herman on several different issues, where he’s saying ‘I misspoke’.”

Cain’s recent rise in the polls brings more scrutiny. Pro-lifers are firm in their belief that abortion is murder and should be outlawed. Herman Cain is going to have trouble proving he feels the same.

“All of his words are going to be weighed more carefully now,” Vander Plaats said. “What he doesn’t want to do is develop a consistency of misspeaking. Because if he does that, it’s going to lead people to the conclusion of ‘I don’t know which Herman Cain I’m dealing with’.”


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The Iowa Republican

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