Joe Lawler takes Herman Cain to task for not communicating his pro-life position clearly during his interview with Piers Morgan on CNN last night.
However, I think his answer to Morgan and to David Gregory over the weekend is perfectly consistent with what he has said about the question of abortion in the past. Consider Cain's reasoning for declining to sign the Susan B. Anthony List's Pro-Life Presidential Pledge back in June:
The fourth requirement demands that I 'advance' the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation. (italics mine) I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro life issues. In no way does this singular instance of clarification denote an abandonment of the pro-life movement, but instead, is a testament to my respect for the balance of power and the role of the presidency.
The key word here is "advance." Back in April 2007, I wrote about the question of the role of the President with regard to abortion:
One must ask how much of the Presidency is consumed by the question of abortion. Aside from appointing Roberts and Alito, signing the Partial Birth Abortion Act into law and addressing the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. by telephone, I would argue President Bush has spent less than 1% of his Presidency on the question of abortion. The case can be made that the word of the President on abortion or any other public matter can sway public opinion and influence the course of the debate. But in a time of war does a majority of the American public believe who sits in the Oval Office should be determined by their view of abortion, be it pro-life or pro-abortion?
Simply put the legality of abortion is not in the hands of the Oval Office. Nor does it rest entirely with the Supreme Court. While there might come a time where the Court will revisit Roe v. Wade, it cannot do so on its own whim.
The bottom line here is that Herman Cain opposes abortion and would sign pro-life legislation into law if passed by Congress. But Herman Cain can't outlaw abortion with an Executive Order any more than George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan.
I mean it's not like Cain is pulling a Romney who is pro-choice when he runs for office in Massachusetts and pro-life when he runs for President.
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