Perry's tougher abortion stance: What does it mean for Texas?




Posted on December 28, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 29 at 11:43 AM

Gov. Rick Perry's "transformation" on his abortion stance is getting attention because of the potential impact in Texas.

Speaking in Iowa on Tuesday, Perry said he is now against abortion — even in cases of rape or incest — after watching a documentary called "Gift of Life."

He said he would still support the procedure to save a mother's life.

In Texas, the concern is how this could potentially affect abortion laws and issues in Texas next year if Perry doesn't make it to the White House.

With fresh polls showing Perry support lagging, the chances grow he'll be back at the Governor's Mansion for the 2012 legislative session.

His new outlook against abortions in cases of rape and incest heartens Texas pro-life groups.

"Certainly the belief that all children should be protected in the womb — regardless of the circumstances by which they came to be conceived — should be protected... is a position that we would support," said Becky Visosky of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas.

Perry enjoys deep support among pro-life groups, and signed their favored sonogram bill into law earlier this year.

Providing the state wins an appeal overturning a court order blocking the law, pro-life groups look to tighten it further. They want to remove the law's exemption for women pregnant through rape and incest from hearing the doctor's explanation of the sonogram.

Perry didn't weigh in directly on that part of the law, but pro-life groups hope he would openly favor the change now.

"That really brings it home," Visosky said. "That child in the womb is not responsible for the circumstances that brought them into existence, and they deserve the protections and the right to life just as much as you and I do."

Texas Alliance for Life has endorsed Perry, and the group's executive director, Joe Pojman, still hopes Perry can win the White House.

"We are interested next session in strengthening the sonogram law so that all women considering abortion will hear the description of the unborn child during the sonogram," Pojman said.

Pro-choice groups and many Democrats say they will keep fighting the sonogram law.

"This will probably lead to a law saying that if a 14-year-old victim of incest wants to get an abortion, she would then have to submit to a sonogram, which is one of the most invasive procedures this legislature has come up with," said Andy Brown, chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party.

Perry's campaign hasn't responded yet, but both sides in the sonogram law issue suspect they know what he'd support.

The state's appeal of an Austin federal judge's preliminary injunction of the law will be heard before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals next Wednesday.