The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who now leads some GOP preference polls, Cain appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" and when asked about his views on abortion said he believed "life begins at conception" and that he was opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest.
When asked if he would want his daughter or granddaughter to give birth if she was raped, Cain told Morgan that the host was "mixing" two issues.
"It's not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision," Cain said. "Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidence, you're not talking about that big a number. So 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 issue."
Viewers were left wondering if Cain's comment referenced all abortions -- which would make him pro-choice -- or whether it was only referencing abortions in the cases or rape and incest, which would have made his position the same as other prominent Republicans, such as former President George W. Bush. His reference to a small "statistical incidence" seemed to indicate he was talking about abortions in the cases of rape and incest, because they do make up less than half a percent of all abortions.
The next day Cain sent out a Tweet saying, "I'm 100% pro-life. End of story." He also issued a statement, saying:
"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."
Ironically, during the same CNN interview, Cain -- a member of Atlanta's Antioch Baptist Church North, a National Baptist Convention USA church -- made comments about homosexuality that won the praise of many social conservatives. He was asked about his beliefs about homosexuality being a sin. Following is a partial transcript of his response and subsequent exchange with Morgan:
Cain: I think it's a sin because of my biblical beliefs and, although people don't agree with me, I happen to think that it is a choice.
Morgan: ...ou believe people get to a certain age and go, I think I want to be homosexual?
Morgan: ... You're a commonsense guy. You genuinely believe millions of Americans wake up in their late teens normally and go, you know what, I kind of fancy being a homosexual? You don't believe that, do you?
Cain: Piers, you haven't given me any evidence to convince me otherwise nor has anyone else.
Morgan: My gut instinct, Herman, tells me it has to be a natural thing.
Cain: So it's your gut instinct against my gut instinct. It's a wash; it's a push. That said, I respect their right to make that choice. You don't see me bashing them or anything like that. I respect them to have the right to make that choice. I don't have to agree with it. That's all I'm saying.
Morgan: It would be like a gay person saying, 'Herman, you made a choice to be black.'
Cain: You know that's not the case. You know I was born black.
Morgan: Maybe if they say that, you would find that offensive.
Cain: Piers, Piers. This doesn't wash off. I hate to burst your bubble.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.
Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net