Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he had undergone a “transformation” on the issue of abortion and now believed that there should be no exceptions made for rape, incest or the life of the mother.
That statement came just days before the Iowa caucuses as Mr. Perry and several of his rivals are trying to appeal to conservative, religious voters. But Mr. Perry described the change as a heartfelt one that came after he watched a DVD of a movie called “The Gift of Life.”
“I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest,” Mr. Perry told a local pastor who had questioned whether he had changed his position on the issue. “Some powerful stories in that DVD.”
Until about a week ago, Mr. Perry had described himself as being opposed to abortion but had said he would allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. Campaign officials said Mr. Perry watched the DVD, a documentary made to spread an anti-abortion message, while on his campaign bus last week. Mr. Perry said he also recently talked with a woman featured in the movie whose mother was raped but decided to have the baby.
“The lady in the DVD was looking me in the eye and said, ‘You really have to think this through,’ ” Mr. Perry said at a town hall meeting in Osceola. “She said to me, ‘I am the product of rape,’ and she said ‘my life is worthy.’ It was a powerful moment.”