Political Correction

Cain: Abortion Should Be Illegal, But It's The "Family's Decision" To "Break The Law"

October 21, 2011 3:26 pm ET - by Julia Krieger

Two nights ago, GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain told CNN's Piers Morgan that his belief that "life begins at conception, and abortion under no circumstances," is just his opinion, not "a directive on the nation." On policy, he seemed to present the progressive case on abortion, saying that "it's not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision."

After taking some heat from Iowa conservatives, Cain jumped at the opportunity to walk back his progressive policy statement, telling Fox News host Martha MacCallum this afternoon that he was simply answering a hypothetical question on a rape case, and that the decision on whether to break the law is "that family's decision."

MACCALLUM: The question is, do you think abortion should be legal in this country for families who want to make that decision?

CAIN: No. I do not believe abortion should be legal in this country, if that's the question. I'm consistent with that—

MACCALLUM: So then you're saying that if those circumstances come up and the family does make that decision, that they decide that that is the best thing for this young person, or she decides that on her own, that if that were their case, you know, that's what they decided, that it would be an illegal abortion that they would need to seek.

CAIN: It would be an illegal abortion if the law—look. 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.


It's odd that a back-alley abortion is among Cain's apparent solutions to a hypothetical case of rape. Although it appears that criticism resulted in Cain's 180 on abortion policy, the jury's still out on whether he believes, as he told Morgan, "I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation," or how often he'll be willing to change his tune to appeal to the Republican base.

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