Well that was unexpected. Since Rick Perry has single-handedly based his entire mandate on outlawing abortion, it was definitely a surprise when his wife, while speaking to Evan Smith at the 2013 Texas Tribune festival, came out of the pro-choice closet.
Her interviewer clearly couldn't contain his shock.
"Mrs. Perry, I want to be sure you didn't just inadvertently make news," Smith said. "Are you saying that you believe abortion is a woman's right, to make that choice?"
"Yeah," she answered. "That could be a woman's right. Just like it's a man's right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I don't agree with it, and that's not my view," she replied.
In summary: she wouldn't get an abortion, but she's not opposed to other women getting abortions.
Hold the phone! The first lady of Texas thinks women and men have equal control over their own bodies?!
I bet Rick Perry is surprised. He's not only taken position against abortion even in the case of incest and rape, he's also made it his personal duty to decide what's best for women no matter what their needs are. "We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease, and pain they cause,” Perry said when campaigning in June.
But hold on before you go make pro-choice pins and tote bags sporting Anita Perry's face. In the same breath, the governor's wife also said that Texas' draconian new anti-abortion bill (you know the one that's so bad Planned Parenthood is suing) is "trying to protect women's rights and their safety," which could not be further from the truth.
If you don't take my word for it, maybe you'll be believe the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who strongly oppose Perry's bill. I guess passing a bill that closes down 80% of the state's abortion clinics puts women at risk.
Either way, Anita Perry seemed much more composed and reasonable than her husband when she said she was in no position to criticize Wendy Davis for her battle against her hubby's bill or Michelle Obama for her fight for affordable health care. She's emotionally miles ahead of the governor, who has ruthlessly resorted to personal attacks against Senator Davis on more than one occasion.
For more on this topic from Liz Plank: