Rick Perry Clarifies Abortion Stance: Backs Pro-Life Amendment

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2011   |   10:34AM   |   Austin, TX

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has clarified his pro-life stance on abortion:  he supports a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution affording legal protection for unborn children.

Last week, Perry gave a states’ rights answer when asked about his position on abortion, saying, “You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t. You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, ‘We’d rather not have states decide that.’”

Perry’s position would allow states to again ban abortions by virtue of having Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that overturned state abortion laws, overturned. But some pro-life advocates challenged Perry to go further by supporting a federal amendment to ensure legal protection for unborn children across all states.

Meanwhile, the Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser asked Perry to understand the importance of examining abortion through a federal lens.

“Governor Perry has been a long time friend of the pro-life movement and we welcome and appreciate all the work he has done for women and unborn children as Governor,” she said.  “We agree that certainly there is a lot that can be done at the state level to reduce the number of abortions, but that does not diminish or eliminate the federal government’s responsibility to protect human life in all of its stages.”

Now, according to a Houston Chronicle report, Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger says the Texas governor and potential Republican presidential candidate backs a federal amendment.

“Gov. Perry is proudly pro-life and successfully championed strong pro-life legislation in Texas including parental consent, this year’s sonogram bill and a budget that significantly defunds abortions in Texas,” she said. “The governor has long supported overturning Roe v. Wade, and would support amending the U.S. Constitution, with the backing of Congress and the states, to protect innocent life.”

The newspaper says Cesinger cast the support for the federal amendment in terms of states’ rights and going along with Perry’s pro-10th Amendment position by saying three-fourths of the states would have to approve the federal amendment before it becomes a part of the U.S. Constitution.

Should he formally enter the Republican presidential race, as is expected, Dannenfelser is also encouraging Perry, should he decide to join the crowded field of Republicans seeking the nomination to take on pro-abortion stalwart Barack Obama, to sign the organization’s pro-life pledge that several candidates have signed and some have decided against signing.

“His signature on our pledge will be a welcome addition. We are also anticipating his clarification that if elected he will continue his fight for life at the national level,” Dannenfelser said.

Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul signed it while Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain decided against signing it. The pledge has the candidates promising to support only judicial nominees who won’t interpret the Constitution in a way that supports Roe v. Wade, select pro-life Cabinet members on positions affecting abortion policy, supporting legislation to stop taxpayer funding of abortions and Planned Parenthood, and to support a fetal pain bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Recently, LifeNews.com profiled Perry in an article featuring comments from two statewide pro-life groups, Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life, verifying Perry’s pro-life credentials and discussing the lengthy list of pro-life actions he’s taken as governor. Representatives of both groups expressed confidence in Perry advocating a pro-life agenda should he decide to run for president and be nominated by Republicans to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama.