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Perry backs Ohio anti-abortion ‘heartbeat bill’

During a recent retreat featuring a cast of influential conservatives, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his support for a controversial Ohio bill seeking to prohibit abortions at the first identified heartbeat, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Anti-abortion rights activist Janet Folger Porter and her group Faith2Action have lobbied heavily for the bill, in hopes of rolling back parts of Roe v. Wade, as the American Independent previously reported.

Hosted by major Perry donor Dr. James Leininger, a prominent supporter of conservative causes, the gathering was attended by “250 pro-life and pro-family leaders,” according to a statement by Faith2Action. His announcement, writes the anti-abortion group, received “an extended standing ovation.”

“We’re grateful to Governor Perry for his strong support of the Heartbeat Bill. I don’t think there’s a bill in America with more support,” said Porter.

During Texas’ legislative session this year, a bill requiring women seeking abortions to undergo sonograms and listen to the fetal heartbeat at least 24 hours before the procedure was classified by Perry as “emergency legislation.” Such laws are an aim of Porter and her organization; the activist told conservative conference goers in April she hopes her bill will lead to “forcing women to be exposed to an ultrasound before they can have an abortion.”

A federal judge recently blocked the law, scheduled to take place last week, ruling key parts of the legislation unconstitutional, as the Texas Independent previously reported.

Presidential hopeful Perry joins fellow GOP contenders including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in backing the legislation. The “heartbeat bill” passed Ohio’s Republican-controlled state House of Representatives and now moves to the state Senate for a vote.

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