Family Foundation stands by Cain choice despite abortion flap
The Family Foundation of Virginia is one of the most powerful and successful anti-abortion groups in the country. They were the driving force behind recent legislation that led to Virginia passing the most stringent regulatory standards for abortion providers in the country.
The group’s annual gala is one of their biggest fundraisers and traditionally brings in some of the biggest names in the conservative movement. Past speakers include names like former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a one time candidate for president and Indiana Congress Mike Pence, currently exploring a run for governor of his state, and a rising star on the right. This year’s event drew more than one thousand people.
Cain was a natural choice, given his conservative politics and his growing national following, but his newly revealed views on the topic of abortion, may not necessarily mix with the views of the Family Foundation.
To be clear, the Family Foundation has not endorsed Cain for president and his appearance was billed as one not affiliated with his campaign. However, the Family Foundation’s powerful president Victoria Cobb told me that Cain would not have been invited if the group had any concerns that he may not be pro-life.
“Obviously, we wouldn’t have had him at our Gala if we hadn’t heard very strong pro-life statements from him,” Cobb said.
“I believe that life begins at conception and abortion, under no circumstances,” he then went on to say..
“It comes down to, it’s not the government’s role or anybody’s role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that number. What I’m saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that the family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”
Generally, a candidate who declares himself or herself to be “personally pro-life” but believes it is not the government’s responsibility to intervene, is labeled “pro-choice” by the anti-abortion community. The goal of most anti-abortion groups is to pass laws that either outlaw or severely reduce the number of abortions performed, something much different from what Cain described as his position.
The Family Foundation, who has had many victories in Virginia doing exactly what Cain claimed he was opposed to, stands by their decision to invite him to Richmond.
“I’m not going to declare a candidate officially pro-life or pro-choice,” said Cobb. “There are lots of shades of gray in the middle as one may agree with some policies the pro-life community push and not others.”
The Family Foundation still features a picture of Cain on the front page of their website and has a blog post with links to the various media outlets that covered the event. The blog post is titled “Herman Cain Rocks Richmond“.
The organization is very active in the upcoming legislative races and sent candidates for statehouses races a detailed questionnaire on potential issues that could come up in the next session. Among the questions: Would you vote to prohibit abortion from where medical science determines an unborn child can feel pain (presently 20-22 weeks)? And would you vote to add unborn children to Virginia’s wrongful death statute?
According to Cobb, isolated statements by candidates mean very little to pro-life voters, what they care about is how an elected official will govern once in office.
“Cain will have to make his case to the pro-life community,” she said. “They’ll want to know what kind of judges he will appoint, will he defund Planned Parenthood, will he sign pro-life legislation?”
One thing the Family Foundation won’t do is sit on the sidelines. The group remains very focused on helping republicans ain control of the Virginia State Senate. A victory that could have long-term implications on the future of many of the issues the organization is concerned about.