Perry’s radical anti-abortion agenda includes 20-week ban

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 9:42 EDT
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) talks about banning all abortions. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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Appearing in Houston on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) bragged about his anti-abortion record, including what he called his “privilege” of signing a law that requires women to undergo a medically unnecessary vaginal probe before ending an unwanted pregnancy.

Perry spoke at a crisis pregnancy center, at an event sponsored by Texas Right to Life. Standing in front of a pink backdrop covered with images of happy African American women, the right-wing governor vowed to reduce abortions to the lowest level possible under current law. He added that forcing women to undergo unnecessary vaginal probes gives their fetuses “the respect of recognition before their lives are tragically cut short.”

Then Perry announced that he will ask the legislature in the next session to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks — what he called “the point a baby can feel the pain of being killed.” He did not mention including exceptions for the life or health of the mother, or instances of rape.

“We have an obligation to end that type of cruelty,” Perry insisted. “And 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.”

Claiming that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks is a popular right-wing cause, but it does not align with scientific consensus. Doctors say that the brain is not developed enough to feel pain until about the 29th week of pregnancy.

Nevertheless, Perry added that the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade prevents Texas from completely banning abortion, but in his view does not override what he called a “compelling state interest.”

“I don’t think there’s any issue that better fits the definition of compelling state interest than preventing the suffering of our state’s unborn,” he said. “We cannot and will not idly stand by while the unborn are being put through this agony of having their lives ended.”

Perry also said that he wants to hold abortion providers to the same medical standards as surgical facilities, and require doctors that perform abortions also have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Other states like Mississippi have taken up similar measures, which critics say are designed to disqualify most abortion providers operating in the state.

“From my perspective, this is about common sense,” Perry said.” Any patient should have the expectation that facilities used are up to standards, and that if there’s an emergency situation, they can receive the care that they need. Again, the ideal world is a world without abortion. Until then, we’re gonna continue to pass laws to ensure that abortions are as rare as possible under existing law.”

This video was published to YouTube on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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