U.S. candidate Perry's abortion view at odds with wife?

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:02am IST

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry campaigns at the Coffee Corner in Washington, Iowa December 29, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry campaigns at the Coffee Corner in Washington, Iowa December 29, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry's new opposition to abortion in almost any situation may appease conservatives in Iowa, but it moved his views further from those of a sexual abuse organization supported by his wife, Anita.

During an emotional appearance this week while campaigning for the January 3 Iowa caucuses that kick off the presidential nominating process, the Texas governor said he had undergone a "transformation" in his views toward abortion.

At a town hall meeting in Osceola, Iowa, Perry, an evangelical Christian who has made his faith a centerpiece of his White House bid, was asked by a local pastor about abortion.

Perry, who previously had opposed abortion except in cases of rape or incest, said he had a change of heart after watching a movie made by 2008 Iowa Republican caucus winner Mike Huckabee called "The Gift of Life."

"I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest," Perry said.

He said one of the moments that changed his mind was while talking to Rebecca Kissling, a woman shown in the movie.

"She said to me, 'I am the product of rape,' and she said, 'My life is worthy.' It was a powerful moment," Perry said, his voice breaking slightly as the crowd applauded.

Perry's new view contrasts with that of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), which supports abortion rights.

Perry's wife, Anita, is a long-time fund-raiser for the group, which has received federal and state funding.

Anita Perry, a nurse by training, was hired in 2003 to use her fund-raising skill at TAASA, where in a single year she tripled donations.

TAASA says Anita Perry sticks to fund-raising and generally avoids policy discussions. A lobbyist for the association has said that Anita Perry is not involved in any policy issues.

Annette Burrhus-Clay, director of TAASA, said she was aware of Rick Perry's change of heart regarding abortion. Burrhus-Clay would not comment on how it might affect Anita Perry's views or her work with the association.

"Anita Perry is still a fund-raiser for TAASA," Burrhus-Clay said in an email to Reuters. "TAASA's position remains unchanged. We still contend that the option of safe and legal abortions is essential for rape and incest victims."

Perry's spokesman Ray Sullivan said both Anita and Rick Perry have always opposed abortion. Sullivan would not say whether Anita Perry shared her husband's new opposition to abortion in cases involving incest or rape.

"Like most Americans, they would rather not see any babies aborted," Sullivan told Reuters in an email. "Both Perrys believe families should have the option (of abortion) when a woman's life is in danger."

Less than a week before the Iowa caucuses, Perry is battling several other Republican candidates to win religious conservative voters in Iowa.

Most of the Republican candidates, including Perry, have signed the Personhood USA pledge, which says: "Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited."

(Editing by David Lindsey)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Islamic State


Quest For Statehood

Quest For Statehood

Sweden recognises Palestinian state, hopes will revive peace process  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola health worker restrictions could deter others - U.S. envoy  Full Article 

East Jerusalem Clashes

East Jerusalem Clashes

Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting Jewish far-rightist  Full Article 

Gas Supply Deal

Gas Supply Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU likely to agree gas supply deal Thursday - officials  Full Article 

Sri Lanka Landslide

Sri Lanka Landslide

No hope for survivors in Sri Lanka landslide, over 100 dead  Full Article 


Unrest In Burkina Faso

Protesters demand Burkina Faso president quit, burn parliament   Full Article 

Syrian War

Syrian War

Syrian air strikes kill over 200 civilians in 10 days - monitor  Full Article 

Call For Probe

Call For Probe

U.N. watchdog urges Israel to probe possible Gaza war crimes  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage