By Dave Andrusko
You’d hardly expect the opinion of a respected NRLC state affiliate about Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a writer for a determinedly pro-abortion publication to coincide.
One–Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life—describes Perry as a “pro-life champion” whose record is “unmatched” among GOP pro-life presidential candidates.
The other–Eliza Gray of the New Republic–informs her readers that Perry “has not hesitated to push multiple anti-choice bills through an eager state legislature.” He is, in fact, engaged in a “personal and political crusade against women’s reproductive health,” according to Gray.
But on reflection, they actually agree on a lot of what Gov. Perry has accomplished: it’s the evaluation where they part company.
For example, Gray believes it is nothing short of absurd for Perry to have designated passage of a sonogram [ultrasound] bill as “emergency” legislation. But, contrary to her assertion, this designation did not mean other important measures were ignored or slowed down.
What it meant is that the bill got into the pipeline early–it was fast-tracked– meaning that when the inevitable mad rush that characterizes the end of any legislative session came about it had a better chance of not getting lost in the last-minute shuffle.
And needless to say making sure women had the opportunity to see the sonogram of their unborn child and hear her heartbeat was objectionable in the extreme to Gray.
Here’s Graham’s explanation of the same legislation.
The recently adjourned 82nd Legislative Session is perhaps the most historic and successful for the Pro-Life movement in Texas. The new sonogram law may not have passed if Governor Perry had not fast-tracked the measure, propelling it past the procedural hurdles. The bill morphed throughout the session, but Governor Perry was working behind the scenes to make the sonogram bill strong. And strong it is! In the past, abortion providers would not have to share this vital piece of medical information with a woman before she finalized her decision to abort. Now this right to informed consent before an abortion is protected in law—thanks to Governor Perry standing with Texas Right to Life on closing the loopholes in the sonogram bill.
They also agree that Gov. Perry is genuinely pro-life (or “zealot,” to Gray). A key early paragraph in Gray’s story makes that clear.
“One professional pro-choice advocate in Texas says, ‘What is terrifying about Rick Perry to us is he will work the abortion issue to his political advantage, but he also cares.’ While other Republican candidates are certainly anti-choice, she insists that Rick Perry would be among the worst. ’Since he has made this a personal priority for so long,’ she continues, ‘I think he would be a great threat as an anti-choice advocate, a zealot even.’”
Here’s Graham’s 180 degree different take:
“Governor Perry’s commitment to restoring the sanctity of innocent human life manifests in his words, but more importantly, in his actions and his list of achievements for the Pro-Life cause. He has spoken at numerous Pro-Life events across the state, freely mentions the Life Issues in his public speeches, and privately walks the walk of a true Pro-Life statesman and servant.”
In Part Three, I’ll be talking about Gov. Perry in the context of what is, even by the usual anti-pro-life standards of the “mainstream media,” an unparalleled personal and vitriolic assault. Suffice it to conclude here that what frightens pro-abortionists about Perry and delights pro-lifers is (to quote Graham one last time)
“He has been an outspoken and unapologetic advocate for protecting the sanctity of human life from fertilization until natural death, and he has effectively put his advocacy into action during his tenure as Texas’ top official.”
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