Texas Right to Life chief gives Gov. Perry good marks
Texas Right to Life’s Director, Elizabeth Graham, talks to Kathleen Walter of Newsmax.com about Governor Perry's Pro-Life credentials.
Kathleen Walter: Joining us now via the phone is Elizabeth Graham. She is the director of Texas Right to Life, the oldest, largest, and only state-wide Pro-Life organization in Texas. And Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us on Newsmax TV.
Elizabeth Graham: Great to be with you, Katherine, thank you.
Walter: Well a number of pundits have questioned whether Rick Perry really is Pro-Life as he says. Elizabeth, I know that you've worked very closely with the governor on Pro-Life issues over the years. Is this criticism unfair?
Graham: The criticism is indeed unfair. Governor Perry has been supportive of the Pro-Life effort since even before he was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1999. He has been a staunch advocate, he attends Pro-Life events and speaks at Pro-Life events. We have access to both him and his staff and he has been very hands-on not only Governor, but also Lieutenant Governor for the Pro-Life cause.
Walter: Now I know you are partial to Governor Perry, but of the GOP candidates who best supports the Pro-Life cause?
Graham: I have direct experience with Governor Perry, so I can speak to his leadership style and his willingness to clear obstacles and “move the ball down the field,” so to speak, as well as his willingness to persuade resistant leaders to remove obstacles and protect life. So, I have the most experience with him. I do know that Senator Santorum is an outstanding Pro-Life advocate. I know him personally, have worked a little bit with him on some other issues and projects since he's been out of office, and Senator Santorum is also a very strong Pro-Life advocate. I'm confident that he would probably be amenable and open to as many protections as we could pass on the Pro-Life front. Another candidate I think has a record: Ron Paul is a Pro-Life OBGYN, he's delivered thousands of babies, he is a staunch Pro-Life advocate. He also has a different style—or a different theory. His Pro-Life convictions manifest a different way than do Senator Santorum and Governor Perry.
Walter: Now Mitt Romney has shifted his position from supporting abortion under some circumstances to outright opposing it. In your view is Mitt Romney truly Pro-Life?
Graham: I cannot speak to that. I've not had any personal interaction with Mitt Romney where I have had with, of course, Santorum, and Governor Perry, and Congressman Ron Paul, and even a little bit Newt Gingrich. So I can't speak to Mitt Romney. I hope that his convictions are sincere. Of course, we are always elated on anyone's conversion and welcome anyone into the fold.
Walter: Elizabeth, recently the U.S. House of Representatives voted on legislation that would more or less restrict or prevent the U.S. Government from funding abortions. Prior to the vote, Nancy Pelosi came out saying in effect that any Republican who would vote for this kind of legislation wants people to die on the floor. What is your response to remarks like that and how has the abortion debate changed under President Obama?
Graham: Well, President Obama wants unrestricted, unmitigated abortion under any circumstances, for any reason; and his health care bill—it marks the largest expansion of abortion in our nation's history. And, regrettably, Nancy Pelosi's right there, towing the line for him. And so the fact that they want to continue to line the coffers of the most fatal, the most deadly, the most harmful agency in America is absolutely appalling and voters should respond accordingly to rabid abortion extremists. We sometimes can say there are elected officials and people who are not comfortable with abortion, but they're not comfortable saying they're Pro-Life. So they might in effect actually be pro-choice. I say that very cautiously. And then there are of course, Pro-Life people. But Pelosi and President Obama are pro-abortion. There is no “pro-choice” about them. They are avidly pro-abortion. They absolutely want no restriction whatsoever, and they welcome the abortion lobby into their offices and help them shape public policy constantly.
Walter: Now there have been so many Pro-Life victories in Texas over the years including the Parental Notification Bill some years ago, to more recently the Sonogram Bill, the fate of which is in limbo now. Why do you think so many big victories in Texas on the Right to Life issue?
Graham: Well, I think the culture is changing; and of course as Texas goes, so goes the country. There are a number of reasons: number one – the increase of alternatives to abortion and Pro-Life pregnancy centers. The increase in elected officials who have a desire to protect the sanctity of life. And really just an outright disgust at the corruption and exploitation seen in the abortion industry. And I think people across the country and especially in Texas are appalled that through so-called 'family planning' revenue streams we continue to send up Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider, and the abortion industry our tax dollars. And I think people are really beginning to wake up that abortion harms women, not to mention the child; but abortion is not healthcare, abortion is harmful to families. And in Texas, although we are generally a Pro-Life state, I think really the legislators and grass-roots citizens and believers are calling for more action to really restore the protection of the sanctity of life.
Walter: Elizabeth, last question, real quickly: Given your inside knowledge of the abortion debate, just how important is it to you to have a president in office who supports states' rights?
Graham: We have learned with most elected officials that anyone that toes the line on the Pro-Life issues—and when I say Pro-Life issues I'm talking about funding of the abortion industry, international funding, abortion services on military bases, end-of-life issues, rationing healthcare, abortion stem-cell research—so there are a myriad of issues under the Pro-Life umbrella; and anyone who toes the line and protects life in all of those areas generally is one who is going to toe the line on all issues of faith and morals for American voters. And so it's very, very important to have a Pro-Life president who realizes that as a federal official, he can in fact enact policy that protects life without overstepping the states' rights; but also at the same time he's enacting federal policy that can empower the states to enact their own state policies. It's my understanding and experience with governor Perry that he understands and recognizes the significance of the role of the president in protecting lives and also in keeping the states empowered to do that.
Walter: Alright! Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. Thank you so much for joining us on Newsmax TV.
Graham: Thank you so much, Kathleen.
You may listen to the interview here.