Abortion was a key issue for Republican presidential candidates at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual dinner on Oct. 22.
The dinner, which took place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, featured speeches by six major GOP candidates.
“It is a liberal canard to say, ‘I am personally pro-life, but government should stay out of that decision,’” said Texas Governor Rick Perry. “That is not pro-life. That is pro-having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too.”
“Being pro-life is not a matter of campaign convenience. It is a core conviction,” he added.
“I’ve raised 28 children. I am the old woman in the shoe,” said Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, referencing the several years that she and her husband spent as foster parents.
“I want you to know quite firmly, I stand for life – from conception to natural death.”
The emphasis on the candidates’ pro-life positions came days after Republican candidate Herman Cain’s stance on abortion was called into question. Cain made headlines with seemingly contradictory comments about his pro-life views last week.
In an Oct. 16 interview on Meet the Press, Cain said, “I do not agree with abortion under any circumstances.”
He went on to explain that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest, but when asked about instances when the mother’s life is at risk, he responded, “(t)hat family is going to have to make that decision.”
In an Oct. 20 interview with Piers Morgan of CNN, Cain was asked what he would do if a family member was raped and whether he would want that family member to raise the child. Cain said that it was “not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision.”
Cain later responded to the interview with a statement that his answer “was focused on the role of the president.”
“The president has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone,” he said. “That was the point I was trying to convey.”
"I am 100% pro-life, period."
At the Iowa dinner, Cain emphasized his commitment to the pro-life cause. He said he believes abortion should be “illegal” in the United States and vowed that he would not sign legislation that provided government funding of abortion.
“I would not sign any legislation that in any way allowed the government to be involved in it,” he said. “I believe that abortion should be clearly stated as illegal across this country and I would work to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Cain elaborated on his position in an Oct. 22 interview with David Brody of CBN News. He said that as president, he would sign a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v Wade.
Cain said that his previous comments had been taken “out of context” and that the experience has shown him that he needs to “beware of being pigeonholed.”