Michele Bachmann became the first woman to win the Iowa straw poll this weekend, but Rick Perry's Texas swagger stole some of her thunder. The Texas governor didn't participate in the contest but stopped by the heartland state after officially announcing his presidential candidacy in South Carolina on Saturday. Now that he's in, let's take a look at his stances on everything from abortion to the HPV vaccine.
Abortion: Perry has signed various bills limiting abortion rights in Texas, including a law that limits late-term abortions, a "Mandatory Ultrasound Bill" that requires a woman to see a sonogram before an abortion, and a law that includes fetuses in the definition of human life. He recently upset some pro-life groups when he said abortion laws should be left up to the states, but has since clarified that he supports a federal anti-abortion amendment.
Planned Parenthood: In June, Perry signed a bill that reduced the state's family planning budget to $37 million from $111 million. The law also stipulated that Planned Parenthood would be at the bottom of a priority system for receiving funding. The bill was a complicated plan to defund Planned Parenthood without explicitly breaking any federal rules, and some estimated that it would result in 300,000 women losing access to services including cancer and diabetes screenings.
HPV Vaccine: Perry issued an executive order in 2007 mandating that all girls in Texas receive the HPV vaccine, perhaps the most unexpected policy on his otherwise predictable socially conservative platform. If the vaccine was not covered by insurance, it would be paid for by the state, and parents were given the ability to opt out. Perry defended his move, saying, "Providing the HPV vaccine doesn't promote sexual promiscuity any more than the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use. If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it, claiming it would encourage smoking?" Still, the Texas legislature passed a bill overriding his order a few months later, and now Perry has changed his tune on the HPV vaccine mandate. Yesterday he said he didn't do his research before he signed the order and "what we should of done was a program that frankly allowed them to opt in or some type of program like that."
Gay Marriage: Rick Perry has gone on record supporting extreme anti-gay laws. He called a former Texas law criminalizing gay sex "appropriate" and signed a law banning gay marriage in Texas. But his love of states' rights seems to trump his opposition to gay marriage and prompted him to support New York's recent legalization of same-sex marriage: Perry said, "Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me."
Do you think these stances will help or hurt his chances of election?