Listening to all the moralistic rhetoric surrounding Texas anti-choice bill SB-5, it’s easy to wonder if these people are for real. Does governor Rick Perry actually believe all that superstitious bullshit about how life begins at conception, or is the real story something more cynical?

I doubt we’ll ever know for sure, but The Houston Chronicle may have provided a clue recently when they “followed the money,” as they say, from one of SB-5’s restrictive provisions to the physician-owned hospitals that Perry’s sister, Milla Perry Jones, has a major financial stake in:

If the bill passes, only five Texas abortion clinics would remain open—those that are already equipped as ambulatory surgical centers, advocates say. But a question remains: would the 420 other ambulatory surgical centers that exist in Texas begin performing the operation? Abortion rights advocates predict that the demand for the procedure won’t disappear with passage of the law.

One company that will be faced with that decision is United Surgical Partners International, based in Addison, TX. Their vice-president of government affairs is Milla Perry Jones, Gov. Rick Perry’s sister. She is also on the board of the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Society.

Could it be that instead of a mere barrier to staying open, the requirement that abortion clinics be (unnecessarily) certified as ambulatory surgical centers is meant to funnel business to these private, doctor-run businesses, where women will have to get abortions at several times the price? (These kinds of centers have been criticized and regulated by the Obama administration for encouraging people to undergo expensive procedures, as the doctor-owners stand to profit more from them. They also lack the sliding scale payment plan of Planned Parenthood.) Or maybe he simply included that provision because he knew his sister would be in a good position to deny abortion clinics their certification?

Perry’s spokesman has refused to comment on whether or not Perry has discussed the measure with his sister, but at the very least, his statement to The Houston Chronicle seems to reveal a marked change in rhetoric:

“He strongly supports protecting women’s health by raising the standard of care they receive at abortion clinics.”

From “all life is sacred” to “get your abortions at my sister’s business for three times the price”? I’m starting to think Rick Perry is Christian like a fox. It also bears mentioning that he is not planning to run for another term, so maybe he’s setting himself up for a lucrative private sector position on the same board as his sis? Time will tell.

(Via The Daily Kos)

Photo: WENN