Perry’s Abortion Stance Gets Even More Extreme

2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5855964036/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum have all endorsed Personhood USA’s pledge to grant full rights to fertilized eggs if they are elected president. And in a radio forum sponsored by the group in Iowa this week, Perry elaborated more fully on how far he’d go to limit abortion.

Perry previously said that he thought there should be exceptions to an all-out ban on abortion for rape, incest, or cases where the life of the mother is at risk. But now he says he’s changed his mind; even women who are raped should be forced to carry to term. He says he underwent a “transformation” after seeing a film about a woman who was conceived by rape:

[Pastor Joshua] Verwers asked Perry about his signature on a pledge from the anti-abortion group Personhood USA that requires candidates to oppose abortion for any reason. Verwers said Perry told him at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner in October that he did support abortion in certain cases.

What brought about the change? Perry said he was moved by a woman he met who appeared in former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s movie, “The Gift of Life,” which he screened in Des Moines on Dec. 14. The woman has been conceived during a rape, and Perry said she told him, “My life has worth.”

He described the moment as “powerful.” The next day, he signed the Personhood USA pledge. Perry specifically said the film made him rethink the exceptions for rape and incest, though in his conversation with Verwers he did not mention the life of the mother, the traditional third exception that many who oppose abortion will allow.

Perry also said he would defy the Supreme Court if it struck down a law giving full rights to zygotes under the 14th Amendment if it were deemed unconstitutional.

If Perry’s poll numbers are any indication, at least we won’t have to worry about him making good on that promise anytime soon.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate