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Gov. Rick Perry Announces New Emergency Legislation at Anti-Abortion Rally

Volunteers gather on the Capitol steps behind Gov. Rick Perry at the 2011 Texas Rally for Life on Saturday.
Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News
Volunteers gather on the Capitol steps behind Gov. Rick Perry at the 2011 Texas Rally for Life on Saturday.

Gov. Rick Perry designated pre-abortion sonograms as emergency legislation today at the annual Rally for Life. The rally marks the 38th anniversary of what Perry calls the “tragic” Roe v. Wade court decision, which gave women the legal right to abortion.

The proposed legislation would require pregnant women seeking abortions to have a sonogram before being able to follow through with their abortion decision. Perry’s mid-rally announcement was met with thunderous applause by the thousands of pro-life supporters in attendance.

“We see real value in standing with all of these other pro-life organizations from across the state to send a message to the community that we value human life, from its early stages to its natural end,” said Austin Coalition for Life executive director, Elizabeth McClung.

Joe Pojman, the Executive Director of the Texas Alliance for Life which helped organize the rally, said last year’s rally had more than three thousand attendees, and this year the anticipated turnout was much larger. According to Pojman, more than 20 organizations and churches from across the state arrived on charter buses to show their support for “compassionate alternatives to abortion” at today’s rally.

Perry concluded his speech by touting Texas’ history of passing bills aimed at avoiding abortion, including the Woman’s Right to Know Act, and the funding contributed to educating women about their options regarding pregnancy. While the majority of the crowd applauded Perry, not all attendees supported the proposed sonogram legislation.

Peace Washington Costanzo, a rally attendee dressed as Lady Liberty—complete with aluminum foil crown and torch—was adamant about the right of women to make their own decisions about their bodies.

“This is just like that Gardasil,” she said. "It’s quite an infringement upon us as females. I think we ought to have the right to say yes or no.”

A similar bill passed through the Texas senate in 2009, but ultimately died in the House.