The pledge, offered to each major GOP presidential candidate, included four specific measures to fight abortion.
These measures included: nominating only federal judges who are dedicated to “applying the original meaning of the Constitution;” selecting “only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions;” working to pass legislation to “permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion;” and committing to “advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”
Cain issued a statement over the summer explaining that while he agreed with the first three parts of the pledge, he chose not to sign it because he objected to the last component.
“I support right-to-life issues unequivocally and I adamantly support the first three aspects of the Susan B. Anthony pledge involving appointing pro-life judges, choosing pro-life cabinet members, and ending taxpayer-funded abortions,” he said.
“However, the fourth requirement demands that I ‘advance’ the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” he explained. “As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation.”
“I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro-life issues,” Cain added. “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.”
Republican candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum all signed the pro-life pledge.
Mitt Romney joined Cain in refusing to sign the pledge. Romney said that he could not sign the “well-meaning pledge” because it is “overly broad and would have unintended consequences.”
Romney also agreed with three out of the four components of the pledge. However, he opposed the provision asking for a commitment to select “pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions.”