The First Lady of Texas doesn't usually make news for her own politics, and has rarely publicly differed from her husband's. However, during her Saturday interview at the the Texas Tribune Festival, Anita Perry acknowledged bodily sovereignty by stating that abortion is “a woman's right.”
In the interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith, Anita Perry's husband's positions on reproductive health policy were discussed specifically in light of him signing HB 2 into law.
While the First Lady continued to reaffirm her husband's good intentions, when asked if Governor Perry and his administration had “got it right” on policies regarding abortion, Anita Perry stated “that is difficult for me Evan, because I see it as a woman's right. If they want to do that, that is their decision.” Which is a pretty bold thing to say when you're married to the guy who has pledged and worked actively to make abortion “a thing of the past” while tearing down access to reproductive health care for the past decade.
Read more from the interview below the jumpIn the discussion, the First Lady struggled as she provided some insight that made common sense, which you can read below or watch here:
Smith: Your view is: governor's got it right, the administration has it right?
Perry: Well, that's really difficult for me Evan, because I see it as a woman's right. If they want to do that, that is their decision. They have to live with that decision.
Smith: Mrs. Perry I want to be sure that you didn't just inadvertently make news. Are you saying that you believe that abortion is a woman's right – to make that choice?
Perry: It is not mine. It is not something that I would say for them.
Smith: Do you believe that the state is attempting to say for them? And that if the governor and the administration had its way it would say for women that it is not their right?
Perry: I think it goes back to the states and Texas has decided that no that is not what we want in the state.
Smith: But your personal point of view is that it's a person's decision within the law to make that choice?
Perry: Well I don't really think that's making news. I mean, I think that yeah, that could be a woman's right. Just like it's a man's right if he wants to have some kind of procedure.
Anita Perry retracted some of her comments from stating that abortion is a right to it could be a right. As seen above, this short moment of clarity was brief.
The rest of the First Lady's comments were expected and fell in line with her husband's, such as denying the War on Women, and affirming that hiring “strong women” means all of the laws you pass are always in their best interest, even if they prevent access to health care or ignore the right to equal pay. In addition, she stated that only four countries allow abortions after 20 weeks when six actually do so, while others provide a wide range of exceptions for health and socioeconomic reasons which have actively been denied by Texas Republicans like her husband.
It's unfortunate that the First Lady had to bury and retract these comments to help her husband's career. And while she made several accurate points about the right to an abortion, her husband's policies she claimed to support have done all to prevent access to that right. However, even the brief recognition by the Governor's wife acknowledging reproductive rights by stating there are “two sides of every nickel” provides a small glimmer of sensibility from a side who has shown nothing of the sort for a very long time.