If Rick Perry is cool with your stance on abortion, chances are you’re not a moderate. Chances are you believe, like Rick Perry, that Roe v. Wade is “shameful,” that Planned Parenthood does harm, that women can’t be trusted to make good decisions about their own bodies.
And Rick Perry is pretty cool with Mitt Romney’s (new!) stance on abortion, as he made clear this morning on CBS.
Of course, Romney and Perry are both Republicans, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that their views align—except that yesterday, Romney tried to pull a fast one, pretending he’s been a centrist on the issue all along. His statement to the Des Moines Register: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”
If this is part of some bizarre attempt to hold the world record for most stances held on abortion in one political lifetime, Romney is a shoo-in for the title. If it’s a blatant semantic pander in an effort to score votes without alienating extremists, Romney’s also on solid ground. But the fact that someone like Rick Perry would go out of his way this morning to cheer on Romney’s beliefs should be the biggest hint of all that Romney’s views aren’t truly moderate at all.
Romney’s hedging, of course, with his statement: while he may try to claim that he’s not technically lying by saying there’s no “legislation” with regards to abortion on his agenda, because he would subvert Roe v. Wade by leaving that to the judicial, rather than the legislative, branch, there’s still plenty else in his agenda to pick from. According to Romney’s own campaign website: he’ll “end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood,” which is absolutely done by legislation—specifically, he’ll favor legislation that guts Title X, the family planning funding structure that, as it stands now with Planned Parenthood as a provider, saves nearly $4 for every $1 invested. In fact, Romney simply wants to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood. Just like … Rick Perry.
Here’s what Rick Perry has said about Planned Parenthood, which he’s barred from Texas’ vital Women’s Health Program to the detriment of tens of thousands of Texans, because he believes (wrongly) that they’re some kind of abortion factory instead of a vital, dedicated and trusted reproductive health care provider:
We’ve banned the use of your tax dollars for abortion procedures in Texas, and expanded that ban to include those affiliated with abortion providers in the case of our Women’s Health Program. That upset more than a few people in Washington, who insisted we financially support organizations like Planned Parenthood by including them in the WHP.
Never mind the fact that the Hyde Amendment already prevents tax money from being used for abortions except in extremely rare circumstances, and Planned Parenthood keeps their reproductive health services in Texas wholly separate from their abortion-providing services, which comprise about three percent of what they do. Rick Perry’s all about scoring political points, not doing what’s demonstrably best for Texans–after all, he couldn’t have been prouder of his 2011 Texas legislators, who slashed family planning funds by two-thirds last year, which will almost certainly increase the number of abortions in Texas.
And as for what Governor Perry has said about Roe v. Wade? He hopes it will someday be a “shameful footnote in our nation’s history books.” No doubt he digs Mitt Romney’s abortion stance, because they’re perfectly aligned. From Romney’s campaign website:
“… he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges.”
With Romney taking so many different stances on abortion depending on who he’s talking to and whose votes he thinks he needs, it bears asking: with which of these many stances does Rick Perry actually agree? If the answer is even one, or any at all, the future bodes ill for American women. When it comes to moderate, sensible reproductive health care policy, Texas is simply not the state you want on your team—especially not with Rick Perry as captain.