Texas Governor Rick Perry will address the opening general session of the 43rd annual National Right to Life Convention on Thursday. The convention is an event where thousands of pro-life advocates come together to hear top pro-life speakers on a variety of abortion, bioethics and end of life issues.
First held at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1971, the annual National Right to Life Convention brings together grassroots leaders of the right-to-life movement to exchange ideas, share information and join together in the common goal of restoring legal protection for all innocent human life. This year’s convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport June 27-29.
Although Perry did not capture the Republican nomination to challenge pro-abortion President Barack Obama, he is still seen as a potential 2016 presidential candidate and he is beloved by conservative and pro-life activists.
Perry brought a lengthy pro-life record to the race to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama but poor debate performances took their toll and made it so Perry dropped from leading the GOP race to a fifth place finish in Iowa and a dead last finish in New Hampshire. Perry appeared to consider getting out of the race after the new Hampshire primary but suddenly jumped back in and said he would fight to regroup in South Carolina.
“I ran for president because I love America, I love our people, and our freedom,” Perry said at a press conference after leaving the race. “”Our objective is to defeat Obama and replace him with a conservative who will bring about real change.”
During the campaign, Perry announced that he had a change of heart on abortion in cases of rape or incest — now opposing abortion in such rare cases. Perry said his change of heart came after meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney who was born after her birthmother was a victim of sexual assault.
“This is something that is relatively new and it goes back to a meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, who was at the The Gift of Life,” Perry said about meeting her at a recent showing of the new movie. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend exceptions for rape and incest.”
“Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, reflecting on that – I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas. But she made a statement to me that was really strong and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart,” he said.
“You’re seeing a transformation,” Perry said of his thinking on abortion and called his conversation with Kiessling “powerful.”
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Perry’s defunding of Planned Parenthood resulted in the shutdown of 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas. Since 2005, Gov. Perry has signed budgets that include millions for pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life agencies that assist pregnant women.
The governor also signed a ban on late-term abortions and a law that requires a doctor to perform a sonogram on an expectant mother before performing an abortion. Additionally, every Texas budget signed by Gov. Perry prohibits funding of abortions by tax dollars. Perry has an extensive pro-life record in Texas and has received top grades from pro-life groups there. He has called for de-funding Planned Parenthood nationally as well.