Cain addresses the crowd during a campaign stop in Detroit (AP)
During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Wednesday, Cain said he he did not think a woman should be able to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest, but also said the government should not make the choice for her. When Morgan pressed for details about his views on the appropriate government role, Cain did not provide a clear answer.
Cain appeared on Fox News Channel's America Live Friday to try and clear things up:
"See he was asking me two questions, my position on abortion, on pro-life has been the same throughout this campaign and that is I am pro-life from conception and I don't believe in abortion. When he then tried to pigeon hole me on my granddaughter being there as a victim of rape then what would I do, the only point I was trying to make, a lot of families will be in that position and will not be thinking well what would the government want me to do. My position is no abortion, my position is no abortion. But all I was trying to point out was take the typical family in this country and you don't know what they might do in the heat of the moment, that's what I was trying to say."
On whether abortion should be legal:
"Abortion should not be legal that is clear. But if that family made a decision to break the law, that's that family's decision, that's all I'm trying to say."
On whether or not abortion should be legal for families who want to make the that decision:
"No, no. I do not believe abortion should be legal if that's the question."
In a statement released Thursday, Cain blamed the confusion on a misunderstanding of the question:
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.
Two of Cain's opponents, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, took the opportunity Thursday to attack Cain for the interview by labeling him "pro-choice."
"Herman's pro-choice position is similar to those held by John Kerry, Barack Obama and many others on the liberal left," Santorum said Thursday in a statement. "It is unconscionable for Herman to run for the nomination of the party that stands in defense of life while showing disregard for the sanctity of life.
Cain's statement may ease concerns from some social conservatives, but expect his rivals to take him task at the next presidential debate for his ongoing ambiguity.
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