This article first appeared online at The Hill on October 21, 2011.
Anti-abortion rights group blasts Cain
By Cameron Joseph
The Susan B. Anthony List, a major organization of Republican women who oppose abortion rights, blasted Herman Cain on Friday for his repeatedly muddled responses on whether all abortions should be illegal.
The emailed statement is the latest criticism of Cain from social conservatives on an issue that threatens to reverse his quick ascent to the top of the GOP presidential field. He has been criticized by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum on the issue as well.
“A candidate’s view of women and the unborn must be crystal clear to the pro-life voter, and Herman Cain’s confusing and fluid position on pro-life policy is unsettling,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List. “When the lives of millions of the unborn are at stake, what a presidential candidate would do to advance pro-life priorities must be stated clearly and unequivocally.”
This is not the first time the group has criticized Cain: They have also protested when he declined to sign their pledge for candidates to oppose abortion rights. He said at the time that he agreed with most of the pledge but that a portion that asked him to “advance” legislation was questionable because only Congress can advance bills. On Friday, the group once again called on Cain to sign the pledge.
In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Cain said abortion should be legal “under no circumstances,” but then seemed to reverse himself when asked about abortions in cases of rape and incest.
“It’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision,” he said. “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 try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision.”
Cain later said that “the government shouldn’t be trying to tell people what they need to do, especially when it’s a social decision they need to make.”
He is slotted to speak at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition dinner, a major gathering of social conservatives in the early-voting state, tomorrow. He has gained popularity with them and held a strong lead in the most recent poll of Iowa Republican voters, but will have to assuage their concerns on this issue if he hopes to win the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses.