ABC News' Katie Slaman reports:
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain declined to sign Susan B Anthony List’s Pro-Life Presidential Pledge, while the organization says five other GOP 2012 candidates have signed the pledge.
SBL List called on each GOP presidential candidate to agree to four specific anti-abortion pledges including only nominating pro-life judges and selecting pro-life appointees to key positions in their administrations if they were elected president.
Cain issued a statement to explain why he chose not to sign the pledge. He said he agrees with the first three parts of the pledge because he “adamantly” supports the appointing pro-life judges and selecting pro-life appointees to his Cabinet and the Executive Branch as well ending taxpayer funding for abortions, but he had a problem with the last part of the pledge.
“The fourth requirement demands that I 'advance' the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation,” he said. “I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro life issues. 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.”
SBL List announced at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans that Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum signed the pledge. According to the organization, Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson declined to sign it.
“We applaud those candidates who did sign the pledge for vowing to support and advance the protection of life at all stages if elected to the White House,” said Marilyn Musgrave, a former congresswoman and Project Director for SBL List. “Their signatures demonstrate that mere lip-service to protecting women and the unborn is not enough—it must be backed up by concrete action.”
When asked about his position on abortion, Herman Cain has repeatedly said that he is “pro-life from conception.”
Cain gave a crowd-pleasing speech at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on Friday although he did not address the pro-life pledge.
“I have a dream, in fact I have two dreams,” Cain told the audience in New Orleans. “The first dream that I have is that in November 2012 conservative republicans are going to take back the house and the senate” he said to a roaring applause. “I’ve got another dream for 2012 and that dream is you are looking at the next president of the United States of America.”
Cain is expected to speak at the National Right to Life Convention along with other GOP presidential candidates in Jacksonville, Florida on June 24.
Susan B. Anthony List’s Presidential Pledge:
* One, only nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;
* Two, select pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Department of Justice;
* Three, advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions; and
* Four, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.