Rick Perry Categorizes Abortion as a States’ Rights Issue

By MichaelJames

Jul 27, 2011 8:32pm

ABC News' Arlette Saenz (@arlettesaenz) reports:

Despite holding personal pro-life beliefs, Texas Gov. Rick Perry categorized abortion as a states’ rights issue today, saying that if Roe v. Wade was overturned, it should be up to the states to decide the legality of the procedure.

“You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t,” Perry told reporters after a bill signing in Houston.  “You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, 'We’d rather not have states decide that.'”

The 10th Amendment reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Perry is not shy about touting his pro-10th Amendment beliefs, despite being a staunch social conservative who opposes same sex marriage and promotes pro-life initiatives.  Late last week, he labeled same-sex marriage as a states’ rights issue, a position shared by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

"Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me," Perry said Friday at a speech in Aspen, Colo. "That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business."

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum took a veiled swipe at Perry’s comments Tuesday, vowing to work to overturn same-sex marriage laws.

“I am not, as some in this race have said, OK with New York doing what they're doing,” Santorum said Tuesday in Ankeny, Iowa.  “What New York did was wrong. I will oppose it and I will go to New York, if necessary, to help overturn it.”

The National Right to Life Committee responded to Perry’s categorization of abortion as a states’ rights issue in a statement, saying, “Our society has an obligation to enact laws that recognize and protect the smallest members of our human family. Prior to Roe, states had the ability to enact laws that extended full legal protection to unborn children.  We look forward to the day when Roe v. Wade is changed, and the states will once again have the ability to pass legislation that fully protects mothers and their unborn children.”

In a win for anti-abortion activists earlier this year, Perry signed a law requiring doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion, an initiative he deemed an “emergency item” for the 2011 legislative session.

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