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Combs Switches, Says She Opposes Abortion

Comptroller Susan Combs giving the biennial revenue estimate in Austin January 10, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune
Comptroller Susan Combs giving the biennial revenue estimate in Austin January 10, 2011.

Comptroller Susan Combs has switched her position on abortion rights, from pro-choice to pro-life, she said in an interview with The Texas Tribune this morning.

Combs and her husband Joe also contributed $5,000 to the South Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center. Combs said the state needs to focus its policies on more counseling for young women.

Combs said flatly that she has changed her position on the abortion issue, moving from a "pro-choice, but not pro-abortion" position to opposition to abortions. "I’m unequivocal about it. I was wrong," she said.

She said abortion is too often used as a form of birth control. "I just find it morally repugnant," she said. Combs said she supported the sonogram bill in the Legislature — it requires doctors to make video and audio sonograms available to pregnant women before performing abortions — and said she will support efforts to end any government funding for the procedures.

Would she support programs that provide contraception and other services? "I think it's important to counsel young women," she said.

Combs has talked about running for another state office when her term as comptroller is up in 2014 — lieutenant governor is mentioned most often — but said her position on abortion has been developing for some time and isn't keyed to her political ambitions.

"Either people believe I am telling them the straight, unvarnished truth or they don't," she said.

The Texas Tribune will post an edited transcript of the interview tomorrow morning.

Ross Ramsey is managing editor of The Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he's had since September 1998. Texas Weekly was a print-only journal when he took the reins in 1998; he switched it to a subscription-based, internet-only journal by the end of 2004 without a significant loss in subscribers. As Texas Weekly's primary writer for 11 years, he turned out roughly 2 million words in more than 500 editions, added an online library of resources and documents and items of interest to insiders, and a daily news clipping service that links to stories from papers across Texas. Before joining Texas Weekly in September 1998, Ramsey was associate deputy comptroller for policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also working as the agency's director of communications. Prior to that 28-month stint in government, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper's Austin bureau chief. Prior to that, as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, he wrote for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
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