Rick Perry Supports "Fetal Pain" Measure, Vows to Make Abortion a "Thing of the Past"

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Perhaps you were hoping that the upcoming legislative session wouldn't be yet another round of conservative lawmakers vying with one another to show just how deeply and sincerely anti-abortion they are. Or maybe that's exactly what you look for in a lawmaker: an eagle eye and a vise grip on every Texan uterus and its contents. In the latter case, Rick Perry's announcement today that he'll support a yet-to-be-filed "fetal pain" bill is probably wonderful news.

As we noted yesterday, the fetal pain bill is based on model legislation by lobbyist group Americans United for Life, and premised on some deeply questionable science . It hasn't been filed yet, and it's unclear when it will be or which lawmaker will sponsor it. Nonetheless, Perry took to the stage this afternoon at The Source for Women Spring Branch, an anti-abortion health clinic of sorts, to announce that whenever the bill actually exists, he's behind it.

"This session, I'm calling on the legislature to strengthen our ban on the procedure, prohibiting abortion at the point a baby can feel the pain of being killed," Perry said, according to a transcript. "We have an obligation to end that kind of cruelty. Now, to be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past."

Even Rick Perry is aware that ending abortion altogether is slightly outside his purview, though. "While Roe v. Wade prevents us from taking that step, it does allow states to do some things to protect life if they can show there is a compelling state interest," he added. "I don't think there is any issue that better fits the definition of 'compelling state interest' than preventing the suffering of our state's unborn. We cannot, and we will not, stand idly by while the unborn are going through the agony of having their lives ended."

It's no accident that Perry chose to make this speech at the Source for Women, an anti-abortion sort of half-clinic whose ribbon-cutting he presided over back in September. The Source doesn't offer birth control, as they appear to be part of the crowd who believe it's equivalent to terminating a pregnancy. What health counseling they do offer comes with a great deal of encouragement to "know Jesus, the giver of all life."

At the ribbon-cutting, too, Perry made an identical pledge to "make abortion a thing of the past." He also promised that The Source would be a part of the state-funded Texas Women's Health Program (WHP), while Planned Parenthood would not be.

The implication is that welcoming the Source while banning Planned Parenthood would somehow reduce the number of abortions being had by WHP clients. In fact, though, the WHP is explicitly for women who are not pregnant . The main thing it's used for is helping women get access to yearly pap smears and birth control, one of which the Source refuses to provide. It's also unclear if they treat STDs, another key function of the WHP program, although their website does promise to provide STD testing and "counseling."

Planned Parenthood didn't immediately respond to the governor's statements. But in what is probably not a coincidence, they chose this afternoon to announce that they've filed another lawsuit against the state of Texas, arguing that the state doesn't have the power to keep them out of the Texas Women's Health Program. According to a press release, they've also filed a similar lawsuit in federal court, saying their ban from the WHP violates the U.S. Constitution.

"The ideal world is a world without abortion," Perry said this afternoon. "Until then, however, we will continue to pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law."

Both NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the national Center for Reproductive Rights have already issued angry press releases about the governor's remarks, using words like "extremist," "pandering" and "cruel."

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23 comments
RyanJ99
RyanJ99

This guy makes me want to move out of Texas

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Perry sure aborted his presidential run. 

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

I agree with you on some of the points. Especially on Rick Perry being an idiot. I've voted against him in the last 2 elections. But I give him some credit in making some type of strides in this direction. You could argue that Planned Parenthood does more than abortions. That abortion is just 3% of what they do. But when you look at what generates the revenue for them, there is a large percentage (around 50-55%) that is made up of abortions. Do they do some good, yes they do. But they make up 1/3 of all abortions nationwide.If you go with the CDC figure of 780K abortions and keep California out of the discussion, you are still aborting three-quarters of the population of Dallas proper. Bottom line. What if we wiped out 780K prisoners every year, no matter what their crime was? Because it’s such a cost or burden to keep them locked up? There would be outrage in the streets! I think we can agree that there have been people that have come into this world in less than ideal conditions or had adoptive parents but have gone on to change the world we live in. We have to get out of this mindset of what is best for “me” and think more about what is best for our society as a whole.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

The irony of Rick's unconstitutional opinion is that the rest of his ultra-conservative, screw-heathcare, insurance, and education views would be best supported by being pro-choice. The demographics of the people seeking abortions are the same as the people you fear ruining your rose-colored view of Texas, Governor Asshat.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

27% of Texans are uninsured.  Where is Perry's concern for those millions of lives?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

So with education in shambles, deteriorating roads, and budget deficits our Governor's biggest concern is a clump of cells-most likely accidental- in a woman's uterus.

The idiocy of (P)Rick Perry never ceases to amaze me. I can totally live with a conservative Governor, but why does it have to be this pandering moron?

Terrence Wilsön
Terrence Wilsön

reckon we could do something about the kids already here Governor? just throwing it out there....

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

I know this the unpopular opinion on the Observer website but this thought that this is not an epidemic, is ridiculous.  We have 1.2 million abortions a year.  Less that 1% of those are due to the popular news stores of just cause (rape, incest, etc.).  There are more abortions than people killed by AIDS and Cancer in the US combined.  Stop the smug "women's healthcare issue" talk and realize what this really is........killing an innocent child.

Kimberly Black Wilmoth
Kimberly Black Wilmoth

Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree with you, Kyle...I'm actually a hardcore liberal, but I'm 100% against abortion.

Kyle McDaniel
Kyle McDaniel

Not a Perry fan but you pro-choicers are on the wrong side of history and science. Future generations will not look back at you kindly. The fact that new life begins at conception is becoming harder and harder to deny. All human beings deserve a basic right to life, regardless if they are in their mothers womb or otherwise.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart

I want this T-shirt so badly! It will go nicely with my 'Jesus is a Liberal' T-shirt : )

Alison Techman
Alison Techman

They will never actually make abortions illegal. Any laws put into place will violate the Supreme Court ruling and be struck down as unconstitutional. This is just something that Republicans threaten and if they ever did get it passed, they wouldn't have that voter base anymore. Don't take it seriously.

Ashley Richardson
Ashley Richardson

"A spokesperson for the governor told the Austin-American Statesman that he would continue working "diligently to protect unborn life in Texas." Well, one can tell by his education policies that he's not too concerned with the children already born.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@rbtxcat75 Except you're thinking of what is best for you and your ideals. A fetus is not a person, for one, and you don't think the nation and the world would be better off without 780k more humans (if they came to term) to feed and house every year? The world has finite resources. The country has finite resources. Even if you ignore the demographics of the women who have abortions the most (newsflash--they're young, uneducated, and poor), you're talking about population increases that have to be accounted for. And don't try this "what if one changes the world!" bullshit. What if one (or 10, or 100) take someone's life? There's credible research indicating that abortions have contributed to lesser violent crime rates, you know.

It's a cynical viewpoint, but it needs to be said: You can't assume that the humans who would be born would contribute positively to society.

MissMacy
MissMacy

@rbaday The point is, planning for my family isn't any of your business. It's MINE. And abortion has been a legal medical procedure in the United States for DECADES. Rick Perry is a medieval halfwit.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@rbaday care to cite a credible source on that? I have a hard time buying that voluntary abortions kill more "people" (and by people I mean clump of cells akin to a carrot in my refrigerator) than cancer.

jared.heath
jared.heath

@Kyle McDaniel The entirety of human history contains abortion, or even worse, infant abandonment/murder.  If you check your bible, the OT actually allows for you to kill a newborn that was forced an Israelite by a non-believer.  

Asking the poor (or worse, the state) to support an unwanted person isn't worth the money.  We don't need more people...we need fewer.

MissMacy
MissMacy

@Kyle McDaniel Except it's none of your business, Kyle. It's not your uterus, it's mine. Trust me, if men were the childbearing gender abortion would be legal, free and a sacred right.

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

@SuperfuzzBigmuff http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html is a good source.  You can also look at the CDC's numbers from 2009 but the don't include Vermount and the big one, California.  So they are much lower (they report about 780K+ abortions a year).  Either way, you look at it, we have between 780K-1.2 million of them a year.

For the "clump of cells" you are speaking of, Perry's support has to do with getting rid of late term abortions (around 20 weeks).  At this point, the baby has a functioning brain and the heart is beating.  I would call that a little further along than some carrots.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@rbaday @SuperfuzzBigmuff were this a one time thing, I'd concede your point. Almost 3mos into a pregnancy is a long time in to make that decision (now I'm wondering if you can test a baby for X genetic disease at that stage, but I will have to look into that).

The bigger issue is that every damn year Prick Perry makes an attempt to further erode abortion rights. Rights granted by the United States Supreme Court. And he does so using blatant misrepresentation of organizations like Planned Parenthood that do so, so, so much more than abortions. The Womens Health Program legislation is a joke.

I'm not sure your cite is at all unbiased, but it's interesting. In the end, it comes down to the fact that no one *wants* abortions. We all wish we lived in a world where only wanted babies occurred. But that's not the case, and some of us have to be pragmatic that a baby isn't always the best option.

Condoms break, women forget or mistime their birth control, women taking medications they need for simple sanity would have to stop, a couple can't afford a baby, a couple isn't mature enough.....there are a lot of reasons, and i didn't even get into a woman controlling her body, that abortion is a necessary evil.

No one wants it, I know several women that have had them-its traumatic. But the misnomer that people just abort fetuses wanton is absurd. So too that the fetus is more than a clump of cells until several months in.

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