Herman Cain signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s pro-life pledge Tuesday, leaving Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman as the last major GOP presidential candidates to refuse to support the pledge against abortion.
“This decision is consistent with the Herman Cain we have come to know,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “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.’”
The announcement comes as Mr. Cain is losing ground in national polls, thanks in part to old allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior that led to financial separation agreements with two women who worked under him while he served as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Republicans also say that he has struggled to translate his grassroots appeal into strong ground operations in the early primary states.
Last month, Mr. Cain came under fire from his pro-life rivals last month — particularly former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — after an interview on CNN where he said he believes life begins at conception and said he was opposed to abortion. But the former Godfathers’ Pizza CEO also said “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision” — essentially the position of many pro-choice advocates.
Mr. Cain later clarified his remarks, saying that he opposed abortion even in such extreme cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.
“I am an associate Baptist minister and am 100 percent pro-life,” he said on Tuesday, adding, “I will do everything that a president can do constitutionally to advance the culture of life.”
The “pro-life presidential leadership pledge” requires candidates to promise to appoint justices who will “not legislate from the bench” and to tap pro-lifers to Cabinet positions.
It also calls on them to end taxpayer funding for abortions here and overseas, and to sign what’s known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” — legislation that supporters say would protect the life of an unborn child as soon as they’re capable of feeling pain, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
Mr. Romney refused the sign the pledge earlier this year, citing restrictive language in the pledge on hospital funding and the selection of Cabinet members.
“Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today,” said Andrea Saul, Romney’s campaign spokesperson said at the time. “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 [Susan B. Anthony] List in the past and he looks forward to continue working with them to promote a culture of life.”