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Why Do I Like Herman Cain’s Abortion Position?

How could you possibly accept Herman Cain’s position on abortion if you are a conservative? I like Herman Cain’s position on abortion because he takes the government out of the equation. You would think this would be right up a conservative voter’s alley—after all, these are the same people who would swear on a stack of bibles that they believe in limited government and personal freedom. But conservatives, for all of their talk, have never really trusted the idea of limited government when it comes to social issues.

“The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.”

Herman Cain on the Piers Morgan show

I was a registered Republican once upon a time, mostly because my father, the chairman of our county’s GOP organization in South Carolina back in the eighties, handled my registration paperwork. So I’ve grown up with every Herman Cain aphorism in the book. What the reaction to Cain’s comments show are the same thing I figured out long ago—Republicans aren’t who they say they are. As a party, the GOP is not as interested in individual liberty as much it is a party obsessed with group control.

Conservatives are largely against abortion, saying that they want to save the lives of unborn fetuses. The United States has an extremely high infant-mortality rate, largely due to the lack of adequate prenatal care for low-income mothers. Yet conservatives are not in favor of government programs providing such prenatal care and have voted to eliminate existing programs that have succeeded in lowering the infant mortality rate.

Liberals find this illogical. It appears to liberals that “pro-life” conservatives do want to prevent the death of those fetuses whose mothers do not want them (through stopping abortion), but do not want to prevent the deaths of fetuses whose mothers do want them (through providing adequate prenatal care programs). Conservatives see no contradiction. Why?

Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think

Cain’s recent remarks on abortion have been framed by the media as a mistake, but to those of us who are would like to see some sort of logical coherence in a political party’s policies, the onus should be on Republicans in Iowa and elsewhere to explain how their “less government is better government” platform goes out the window when it comes to a woman having control over what happens to her own body.


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