Rick Perry Gets A Grade on Abortion From Texas Pro-Life Groups

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 26, 2011   |   10:37AM   |   Austin, TX

The big question in the Republican presidential race is whether or not Texas Gov. Rick Perry will throw his name in the hat for the GOP nomination to face pro-abortion president Barack Obama. If he does, Texas pro-life groups give him high marks.

“Governor Rick Perry has always championed the pro-life cause, tirelessly advocating for the sanctity of innocent human life in numerous ways,” Texas Right to Life executive director Elizabeth Graham tells LifeNews.com.

“Governor Perry has worked alongside Texas Right to Life, helping shepherd our pro-life bills and eagerly supporting our measures,” Graham said. “As governor of Texas, he has intervened to stop anti-life legislation on a number of occasions, and he has helped clear obstacles when necessary.”

For the pro-life movement, changing the makeup of the Supreme Court is perhaps the number one issue — as the current pro-abortion majority on the high court makes it impossible to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow for either federal or state efforts to provide legal protection for women and unborn children. Graham says her organization has been appreciative of the nominations Perry has made as governor.

“Every one of Governor Perry’s judicial appointees adheres to a strict constructionist style of jurisprudence; neither do they find a right to privacy in the penumbra of the Constitution, nor do they legislate from the bench,” Graham assures. “Governor Perry’s appointments have created the largest, most conservative judicial body in America.”

Joe Pojman, the head of Texas Alliance for Life, has also worked closely with the governor and confirms to LifeNews that “Perry has always been pro-life throughout his time as an elected official.”

“For many years, Perry has supported the fund raising efforts of pro-life organizations, including Texas Alliance for Life, and he has appeared several times at the Texas Rally for Life held at the state Capitol to commemorate the tragic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision,” Pojman added.”We believe Perry has the right stuff to be president. If elected, he will aggressively defend innocent human life as he has as governor of Texas.”

Pojman pointed to a laundry list of achievements Perry can point to as governor that have advanced the pro-life cause. Most recently, he signed into law a bill that would revoke taxpayer funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business. But going back to the beginning, as the Lt. Governor in 1999, Perry oversaw the passage by the Texas Senate of the Parental Notification Act, the most substantial pro-life law passed in Texas up to that point. In 2005, Gov. Perry signed the parental consent measure to increase parents’ rights and, in the years since the parental notification and consent laws have been in effect, abortions on minor girls have dropped by 32% per year.

In 2003, Perry signed the Prenatal Protection Act, a law that protects unborn children from violent crimes of murder and assault by expanding the definition of human life in Texas criminal and civil law to include unborn children “at every stage of gestation from fertilization to birth.” Texas’ highest criminal court has upheld convictions of criminals for the murder of unborn children several times, and several are serving life sentences.

In 2005, Perry signed a measure prohibiting abortions in the third trimester and, in 2003, Perry signed the Woman’s Right to Know Act in 2003, which required that abortion businesses offer state-created informational brochures to women considering abortion. That law also prohibits late abortions from being performed excepted in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

This year, Perry appeared to step up his push for pro-life laws even more and, in response to requests from the two Texas pro-life groups, made passing an ultrasound law among his top priorities.

“The bill he signed raises the standard of care for informed consent for abortion, for the first time, to the level of other surgical and medical procedures. It mandates a sonogram and gives women the right to see the image of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat. The bill also requires the physician who will perform the abortion to meet with the woman for an in-person consultation session 24 hours before the abortion to describe the procedure, its risks, and the alternatives,” Pojman said. “Abby Johnson, the former director of a Texas Planned Parenthood abortion facility turned pro-life advocate, believes that provision will “devastate” the abortion industry.”

Perry, this year, also signed a bill to create a “Choose Life” license plate to promote infant adoption as an alternative to abortion in the Lone Star State. Perry long promoted compassionate alternatives to abortion. Since 2005, Perry has signed budgets that include millions for pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life agencies that assist pregnant women.

Perry has also funded adult, not embryonic, stem cell research and treatments since 2005, and has spoken out against embryonic stem cell research.

The long record of pro-life accomplishments will serve the Texas governor well should he decide to seek the Republican nomination. He would face off against other candidates who are equally committed to pro-life values, but his pro-life track record will give him a chance to gain positive support from voters in places like Iowa and South Carolina. Should he ultimately become the nominee, Perry, like other Republicans seeking the nomination, would present a clear pro-life versus pro-abortion contrast with Obama that would rally the majority of Americans who are pro-life to his side.