Texas Gov. Rick Perry is pressing the state’s lawmakers to pass more severe measures restricting abortion, saying his endgame is to outlaw the procedure completely.
At a Tuesday press conference organized by the Texas Right to Life organization, the Republican governor urged legislators to pass a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. Similar laws have passed in several other states, based on the idea an unborn fetus can feel pain after that length of time.
“We have an obligation to end that kind of cruelty," Perry said. "Again, the ideal world is a world without abortion. Until then, however, we will continue to pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law."
Perry has signed a few bills into law that prohibit the access women have to abortion services, including one that excludes Planned Parenthood from state-subsidized women’s health funds and another that requires a mandatory ultrasound before obtaining abortion services.
"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,” the governor said, according to the Huffington Post. “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. 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."
Bebe Anderson, director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights, released a statement Tuesday in response to Perry’s comments:
“There is no denying that Gov. Perry and the state legislature’s unprecedented and unrelenting assaults on women’s reproductive rights in 2011 are causing hardship for women in Texas every single day,” Bebe Anderson, director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement in response to Perry’s comments. “And now the governor has made it clear that Texas women will once again be public enemy number one in 2013."
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