INDIANOLA, Iowa – Texas Gov. Rick Perry clarified his newly transformed position on abortion today, stating that the life of the mother is the only exception in which he’d support abortion.
On Tuesday, the candidate said he had been “transformed” and opposes all abortions, including those that were the result of rape and incest.
“I think I’ve always struggled with that issue,” Perry said when asked today by a Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express News reporter about shifting harder right on the issue of abortion. “After I went to see the movie a ‘Gift of Life’ and had a conversation with Rebecca Kissling, and I really thought about this through the Christmas holidays and that’s the conclusion I came to.”
Kissling was conceived during a rape.
“She looked me in the eyes and said ‘Why would my life not be worth saving?’ And I didn’t have an answer,” Perry said.
“So the lone exception now is for the life of the mother?” asked an ABC News reporter.
“That’s correct,” Perry responded as he walked off to his bus.
At a townhall Tuesday evening in Osceola, Perry first revealed he had undergone a “transformation” in his thoughts about abortion, saying he now opposes it even in cases of rape and incest.
“You’re seeing a transformation,” Perry said in response to a voter’s question about his changed stance at the townhall. “That transformation was after watching the DVD ‘Gift of Life,’ and I really started giving some, some thought about the issue of rape and incest, and some powerful stories in that DVD.”
Asked if there was a defining moment in the DVD that inspired the change in his position, Perry cited a conversation he had with a woman featured in the movie who was conceived during a rape.
“It was actually before it when the lady who was in the DVD was looking me in the eye and said you need to really think this through because she said I am the product of a rape, and she said my life has worth. It was a powerful moment,” said Perry.
The Texas governor later said in a teletownhall that he believed “God was working in my heart.”
Perry signed the Personhood USA pledge two weeks ago which opposes abortion in all forms, but also vows that “in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.”
Perry touts himself as the most pro-life governor in the nation. He recently signed a budget which defunded Planned Parenthood in Texas along with passing a parental consent law and legislation requiring women seeking an abortion to view a sonogram prior to receiving one. That law was deemed unconstitutional in the courts, but the governor’s office is appealing the ruling.