Herman Cain Reverses, Signs Pro-Life Pledge on Abortion

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 22, 2011   |   12:15PM   |   Washington, DC

Herman Cain has reversed position and decided to sign a pro-life pledge on abortion a prominent pro-life group has had other Republican presidential hopefuls sign that Cain initially declined to attach his name to months ago.

Cain declined to sign the Susan B. Anthony List pledge in June, saying he couldn’t do so because he can’t “advance” any pro-life legislation as president, saying, at the time, “As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation.” The statement seemed somewhat nuanced to pro-life advocates in that while Cain, as president, couldn’t “advance” pro-life legislation through Congress, he could undoubtedly use the power of the bully pulpit the presidency affords to persuade members of the House and Senate to advance the bill.

The SBA List informed LifeNews today that Cain has now signed the Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.

“This decision is consistent with the Herman Cain we have come to know,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List, about the pro-life presidential candidate. “He understands the wound abortion is to America and especially to the most vulnerable among us – people that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger labeled ‘human weeds.’

“We commend Mr. Cain for adding his name to the list of candidates who have signed the pledge, and should he be elected to the White House, we look forward to him leading the fight to protect women and unborn children.”

Cain explained his pro-life convictions and commitments today after signing the pledge saying, “I am an associate Baptist Minister and am 100 percent pro-life. I believe that all human beings have intrinsic dignity. My children and grandchildren mean the world to me, and I feel so blessed that they are realizing their full potential.”

Cain continued, “I will not appoint judges who legislate from the bench. I will appoint judges who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution and understand the limitations on government and separations of power set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Where my powers in the Executive Branch are concerned, I will work at all times to oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for abortions. I will do everything that a President can do constitutionally to advance the culture of life.”

In addition to Herman Cain, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum have also signed the SBA List Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge. Thad McCotter and Tim Pawlenty also signed, but have since withdrawn from the race.

With Cain signing the pledge, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman remain the only top Republican presidential candidates to have not signed the pledge even though both are running as pro-life candidates on abortion.

Romney has been campaigning as a pro-life candidate since converting to the pro-life position before the 2008 presidential election.

Responding for Romney, spokeswoman Andrea Saul told LifeNews, “Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today.”

“However, this well intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it. Gov. Romney has been a strong supporter of the SBA List in the past and he looks forward to continue working with them to promote a culture of life,” she said.

Asked to explain the “unforseen consequences” that would prevent Romney from signing the pledge, Saul told LifeNews, “The pledge calls for legislation to strip taxpayer funding from hospitals around the country, and strictly limits the choices a President would have to appoint cabinet members.”

Dannenfelser previously responded to Romney’s excuse that de-funding Planned Parenthood or abortion in the way the SBA List pledge describes would somehow result in cutting off funding to hospitals.

“He chooses to identify non-existent legislation that would defund hospitals as a reason not to sign. Defunding hospitals has never been considered by Congress, is not part of public debate, and is not part of the pledge,” Dannenfelser said. “95 percent of abortions are performed outside of hospitals. Instead, we outlined existing pieces of pro-life legislation that address taxpayer funding of abortion. We would like to know where he stands on each measure.”

Romney later spelled out his pro-life views in an article at National Review and since has pushed the pro-life position in speeches — including repeatedly calling on de-funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

The Pledge asks declared presidential candidates to commit to four key pro-life goals if elected to the presidency in 2012:

FIRST, to nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;

SECOND, to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;

THIRD, to advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.