Cain: I'm "pro-life from conception, period"
Herman Cain again attempted to clarify his position on abortion Sunday, declaring on CBS' "Face the Nation" that "I am pro-life from conception, period" - and that he does not support exceptions even for victims of rape and incest.
"I am pro-life from conception, period. If people look at many speeches that I have given over the years, that has and will still be my position," Cain told CBS' Bob Schieffer.
Cain's position on abortion has been questioned in recent weeks, after the candidate suggested in an interview on CNN that decisions about abortion should be left to families, not the government.
"What I'm saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make," Cain said in that interview. "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."
Cain has since maintained his pro-life stance on abortion, but many have said his comments seem to indicate otherwise.
Cain said today that the CNN interview was "taken totally out of context" and suggested that his comments were not representative of his actual beliefs.
"So in other words you don't... would not even believe in abortion if rape, incest or the health of the mother was involved?" asked Schieffer.
"Yes, that's my position," he said. "Thanks for having me clear that up."
Cain also stood by his previous comments that Planned Parenthood secretly aimed to kill black babies and commit genocide against the black community.
"I want to ask you, since we're on the subject of abortion, at one point back there when the question of Planned Parenthood came up and you said that it was not Planned Parenthood, it was really 'Planned Genocide' - because you said Planned Parenthood was trying to put all these centers into the black communities because they wanted to kill black babies before they were born," Schieffer recounted.
"I still stand by that," said Cain.
"If people go back and look at the history and look at Margaret Sanger's own words that's exactly where that came from. Look up the history. So if you go back and look up the history, look at where most of them were built," he said. "Seventy five percent of those facilities were built in the black community and Margaret Sanger's own words. She didn't use the word genocide but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born."
Cain's comments on Sanger and Planned Parenthood have been taken to task by media watchdog groups and the organization he is attacking for their lack of truthfulness.
The non-profit Politifact website examined Sanger's record, and reported that "the supposed evidence that Sanger supported black genocide is a loose collection of her most objectionable statements, her ties to the disgraced eugenics movement, and her work on what was called the Negro Project. That effort, started in 1939, brought birth control services (but not abortion) to black communities in the South. These facts don't come close to supporting Cain's claim. We found no evidence that Sanger advocated - privately or publicly - for anything even resembling the "genocide" of blacks, or that she thought blacks are genetically inferior."
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said:
"Planned Parenthood health centers are trusted nonprofit health care providers to which one in five women have turned at some point in her life for preventive health care and information, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and annual exams. Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide confidential, non judgmental care to all women, and respect her to make the best decision for her own health and family circumstances. Planned Parenthood opposes discrimination in any form and each of the 800 health centers is committed to providing every woman who comes through its doors with the full range of high quality health care, regardless of where she lives, her race or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, or income level. It is simply unacceptable for those who oppose legal abortion to use inflammatory and divisive language based on race to push an ideological agenda."
Below: A recording of Herman Cain speaking to reporters at the conservative Heritage Foundation on March 15, 2011, at which he referred to Planned Parenthood as "planned genocide."
Cain argued, too, that Planned Parenthood did not offer "sincere counseling" to young women.
"There are a lot of centers that offer sincere counseling, rather than Planned Parenthood claiming to be the centers, when in fact they would rather for the young lady to come in and say they want to get an abortion and facilitate that," he said. "Plenty of centers out there genuinely do that. What I'm saying is, Planned Parenthood isn't sincere about wanting to go try to counsel them not to have abortions."
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood also pointed to a study by The Guttmacher Institute showing that, as of 2008 (which is the most recent data available), 63 percent of abortion clinics are in non-Hispanic white neighborhoods.
- Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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