Speaking to Evan Smith at the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, Perry said that abortion, an issue that Governor Rick Perry has made the cornerstone of his entire reign as Texas’s most important ten-gallon hat wearer, “could be a women’s right.” Wait, what?? For realz? But, like, Mrs. Perry, doesn’t your husband think abortion is everybody’s business except a woman’s? Isn’t what you’re saying right now sort of a big deal?
In front of a visibly surprised Smith, Perry tried to elaborate her opinion about why abortion in particular is a uniquely women’s rights issue, saying, “That's really difficult for me, Evan, because I see it as a women's right. If they want to do that, that is their decision; they have to live with that decision.”
Smith then asked the blunt (and exceedingly generous) follow-up everyone else was probably itching to ask: “Mrs. Perry, I want to be sure you didn't just inadvertently make news. Are you saying that you believe abortion is a women's right, to make that choice?"
For a moment, the crowd stood on the brink of a wide, fathomless chasm in their political landscape, listening to the howl of indecision, hypocrisy, and illogic that so often echoes throughout the GOP’s talking points. Anita Perry came to the very edge of basically saying that her husband’s policies are based entirely on a bullshit assumption that a woman’s reproductive system should be policed by a governing regime that cares more about its moral obligation to fetuses than the women who carry them. Then, of course, she pulled back, no doubt reeling from the vertigo: “Yeah, that could be a women'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."
You’ve got to feel a little bad for Anita Perry right now. She’s probably going to get chewed out by her husband’s brain trust, and, at the last minute, she didn’t even have the courage see her statement through.