At this point Herman Cain probably would have done better sticking with the remarks he made about abortion on Piers Morgan the other night, because in attempting to clarify them he has made his situation so much worse.
To recap: On Tuesday, after declaring he didn’t believe in abortion under any circumstances, Cain told Morgan that he also believed the decision to have an abortion was one best left to the family:
“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 have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”
Which sounded to a whole lot of people like Cain was pro choice.
On Wednesday after the clips made the media rounds the Cain camp issued a statement saying he’s “misunderstood” Morgan’s question:
“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.”
Leaving aside the fact that Cain has developed a bad habit of blaming his more controversial statements (cf. the electric fence) on misunderstandings or jokes, arguing that the head of the government shouldn’t have a role in abortion still seems like a platform many pro choice advocates could get behind.
Which is maybe why Cain didn’t stop there. But oh boy he should have.
“The only point I was trying to make: A lot of families will be in that position and they are not going to be thinking, “Well, what does the government want me to do?” My position is no abortion. My position is no abortion. But all I was trying to point out was take the typical family in this country and you don’t know what they might do in the heat of the moment…. Look, abortion should not be legal. That is clear. But if that family makes the decision to break the law, that’s that family’s decision. That’s all I’m trying to say.”
Emphasis mine. Oof.
So Cain thinks the decision to have an illegal abortion should be left up to the family? (Presumably this is the case for all illegal activity if the goal is not to go to jail.)
On the one hand it’s refreshing to hear a (ostensibly) pro life candidate acknowledge that abortions have, do, and will happen whether or not they are legal.
On the other hand, Cain is coming very close to advocating illegal, dangerous, life-threatening abortions. And at the same time making the point for the pro-choice camp why it’s so important women are given accessibility to the medical resources that can provide them with a safe procedure.
Regardless, purely from a political standpoint this remark was stunningly stupid.
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