Video of the Day: Rick Perry Explains His Abortion Shift

As the candidates scramble for social-conservative votes, the Texan explains why he no longer supports abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

For some time, even pro-life hardliners accepted the idea that abortions should be allowed in rare cases of rape or incest. More recently, that consensus has been eroded in favor of a complete ban. The latest prominent politician to change his mind is Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But here's the catch: Perry supported the exceptions as late as last month.

On the stump in Osceola, Iowa, Perry told a pastor who was quizzing him on his stance, "You're seeing a transformation." He said he changed his mind after watching The Gift of Life, an anti-abortion video released by Iowa favorite Mike Huckabee that argues that fetuses are people -- a stance that's behind several recent ballot initiatives but which flopped in Mississippi in November. In the clip above, a fidgety Perry says what opened his eyes was a conversation with a woman featured in the video who was the product of a rape but said her life was worth living and asked that he reconsider his stance.

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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