Rick Perry Hits Obama on Abortion Before Possible GOP Campaign

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 13, 2011   |   11:19AM   |   Los Angeles, CA

At a pro-life event for Hispanics over the weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry blasted pro-abortion President Barack Obama on pro-life issues. The comments come as the governor is contemplating joining the Republican presidential race.

Perry, who had been scheduled for some time to attend the event but whose name has been mentioned more often in recent days as a potential presidential candidate, accused Obama of not only promoting abortion domestically but said he was pushing it abroad as well. He also tagged the president on forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.

At the United for Life event at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Perry received a standing ovations following his remarks, during which he said “Every life is precious.”

He hit Obama for overturning the Mexico City Policy during his first week in office. That’s a policy that prevents taxpayers from funding groups like the Planned Parenthood abortion business under international programs. Planned Parenthood has promoted and performed abortions in other countries and the Mexico City Policy, first instituted under President Ronald Reagan, cuts off their funding internationally and directs it to programs that provide legitimate help and support for poor people in other nations.

Perry said that, under Obama “our federal tax dollars can now be used to fund abortion all over the world. With the stroke of a pen, abortion essentially became a U.S. foreign export.”

On embryonic stem cell research, he said Obama was “turning the remains of unborn children into nothing more than raw material,” according to an AP report. Obama is ignoring “the overriding responsibility of every government — that is to protect citizens at every stage of their lives, especially those who cannot protect themselves,” Perry said.

Perry did not mention the 2012 election during his speech and, according to AP, spokesman Mark Miner said, “This is not a political event.”

The “Unidos por la Vida” (United for Life) event was many months in the making and Perry attended it along with pro-life activist Lila Rose of Live Action Films. it was sponsored by Eduardo Verástegui, a famous Latin American actor and singer who became well known to the pro-life community in the United States via the feature film Bella. Earlier this year, he announced plans to build the largest pregnancy center in the United States in Los Angeles to reach out to Hispanic and other women.

Perry’s name became more prominent as a potential presidential candidate thanks in part to a mass exodus of top level staffers for former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich 2012 campaign manager Rob Johnson quit along with top strategists and Johnson was a former campaign strategist for Perry’s gubernatorial campaign.

Conservative and mainstream media reporters speculated and provided considerable evidence that Perry is likely to benefit from the departures and that he is closer to declaring he will run for the Republican nomination than ever before — even though he has leaned against it in the past.

Jim Geraghty of National Review cited three separate GOP consultants familiar with Perry’s intentions as signaling his is inching closer to running.

“Knew this was coming… I bet Perry is in this thing sooner rather than later – these guys aren’t jumping off without somewhere else to land,” one said.

Another added, “Gingrich was clearly melting down, and Perry is clearly gearing up, so it was time for the switcheroo.”

“He thinks there is a void [in the current field of candidates], and that he might be uniquely positioned to fill that void,” said one Perry confidant who talked to the governor last week, according to the Wall St. Journal.

Perry has pleased pro-life advocates in Texas many times with signing pro-life legislation — most recently signing an ultrasound bill allowing women to see them before an abortion and hopefully changing their minds on it.  He has been strongly supported by pro-life groups. Perry supported or signed into law the Women’s Right to Know Act and the Prenatal Protection Act in 2003, parental consent law in 2005, and funding for alternatives to abortions in 2007 and 2009.