Perry’s Abortion Stance Gets Even More Extreme

2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5855964036/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

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Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum have all endorsed Personhood USA’s pledge to grant full rights to fertilized eggs if they are elected president. And in a radio forum sponsored by the group in Iowa this week, Perry elaborated more fully on how far he’d go to limit abortion.

Perry previously said that he thought there should be exceptions to an all-out ban on abortion for rape, incest, or cases where the life of the mother is at risk. But now he says he’s changed his mind; even women who are raped should be forced to carry to term. He says he underwent a “transformation” after seeing a film about a woman who was conceived by rape:

[Pastor Joshua] Verwers asked Perry about his signature on a pledge from the anti-abortion group Personhood USA that requires candidates to oppose abortion for any reason. Verwers said Perry told him at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner in October that he did support abortion in certain cases.

What brought about the change? Perry said he was moved by a woman he met who appeared in former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s movie, “The Gift of Life,” which he screened in Des Moines on Dec. 14. The woman has been conceived during a rape, and Perry said she told him, “My life has worth.”

He described the moment as “powerful.” The next day, he signed the Personhood USA pledge. Perry specifically said the film made him rethink the exceptions for rape and incest, though in his conversation with Verwers he did not mention the life of the mother, the traditional third exception that many who oppose abortion will allow.

Perry also said he would defy the Supreme Court if it struck down a law giving full rights to zygotes under the 14th Amendment if it were deemed unconstitutional.

If Perry’s poll numbers are any indication, at least we won’t have to worry about him making good on that promise anytime soon.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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