OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Republican Rick Perry is shifting his opposition to abortion, saying he opposes it even after rape or incest.
Perry on Tuesday told potential caucus-goers in Iowa that he has changed his mind.
Previously, he believed abortion was acceptable in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is at risk. Now, he says abortion in all forms should be prohibited.
Perry told a pastor who asked him about his views that, in his words, "you're seeing a transformation."
Perry says he recently watched former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's documentary about abortion. He says he met a woman in the film and that she told him she was the result of rape and that her life has worth.
Perry says that encounter led him to rethink his position.
HuffPost's Christina Wilkie reports:
Four of the seven Republican presidential candidates reaffirmed their pro-life positions and pledged to protect fetal "personhood" both legislatively and constitutionally Tuesday night.
Each speaking in turn, Perry stressed his intent to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, Bachmann underscored her opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and Santorum reiterated his pro-life record in the Senate. Gingrich, not surprisingly, offered the boldest proposal of the night, saying he would "write [a Personhood] bill so that it is not appealable," and cited an example from 1802, when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison removed more than a dozen federal judges. Gingrich also pointed listeners to an extensive paper on his website, where he offers a controversial plan to subpoena federal judges to testify before Congress in the event that their rulings are deemed "Anti-American" by a hypothetical Gingrich administration.
Speaking first, Perry promised to "enforce the right to life" with a "human life amendment ... without waiting for the courts to overturn Roe Vs. Wade," the current legal precedent that protects a woman's right to an abortion. "Roe Vs. Wade will be overturned," he continued, "with a true pro-life president possibly appointing upwards of two or three new Supreme Court justices, so that would be my goal."
Perry also described a recent shift in his position on abortion in cases of rape or incest, which he first explained earlier Tuesday. The change stemmed from a meeting with Personhood USA spokeswoman Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney, he said.
"We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape," Perry said, "and I couldn't come up with an answer to defend the exceptions [I have previously supported]."
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