On Saturday, Anita Perry, the wife of longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), raised some eyebrows after she appeared to voice her support for a woman’s right to choose — a position at odds with her husband’s staunch opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, incest or where childbirth threatens the life of the mother.
But rather than Mrs. Perry clarifying her opinion or explaining that she misspoke, the Governor took it upon himself to dismiss his wife’s statements and explain to a crowd of reporters what she really thinks about abortion.
“From time to time we’ll stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and you pounce upon it,” said Perry during an appearance in New Jersey alongside Republican senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who is running against Newark’s Democratic Mayor Cory Booker.
But Anita Perry did not offer up a simple, one-word answer when asked about her views on a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. During a televised interview at the Texas Tribune Festival, Perry responded to a question about the ongoing war on women by explaining that while she herself opposes abortion, she recognizes the right that other women have to pursue one as well.
“I see it as a woman’s right,” she said. “If they want to do that, that is their decision, they have to live with that decision. It is not mine, it is not something that I would say for them.” Moderator Evan Smith, the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, was quick to offer Perry an opportunity to clarify her remarks, but instead she expressed some hesitation about the restrictive anti-abortion laws signed by her husband and again explained that abortion was a woman’s right, “just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure.”
Anita Perry’s comments align her more closely with fellow Texan and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) than with her husband when it comes to abortion. Davis famously launched a late-night filibuster in an attempt to block the Republican legislature from passing a bill that would outlaw all abortions for women who are more than 20 weeks pregnant. The bill was delayed, but ultimately passed and was signed into law by Gov. Perry in July. When asked by Smith if her husband was right to sign the law, Anita explained that it was “really difficult” for her.