Joan Rivers might not have died under his restrictive abortion laws, Texas governor Rick Perry suggests

Perry signed the restriction bill last year, which requires that all abortions are carried out in ambulatory surgical centres

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Rick Perry has made an interesting change of tact in his bid to convince Texans that his restrictive HB2 abortion laws are still a good idea.

The state governor appeared to suggest that comedienne Joan Rivers – who died aged 81 after complications arose from a routine medical procedure performed in a New York clinic –  might still be alive, had she been cared for under the same standards required by the controversial legislation.

“It was interesting that when Joan Rivers, and the procedure that she had done, where she died – that was a clinic,” he said, in response to a question posed during a keynote speech at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on Sunday (21 September).

“And I’m just – it’s a curious thought that if they had had that type of regulations in place, whether or not that individual would be still alive.”

Perry signed the abortion restriction bill last year, which requires that all such procedures are carried out in ambulatory surgical centres. Its enforcement has led to the closures of almost half of such clinics in Texas that were unable to upgrade their facilities to meet the new standards.


Critics of the legislation have condemned it as a deliberate way for those in charge to limit health and birth control choices for women of different socio-economic backgrounds. The law has also since been subject to litigation and a federal judge recently put it on hold citing potential 'abuse of power' in limiting the funding to public units – a move Texas has since appealed.

Pro-choice backers were among the first to call Perry out on the comparison, made despite the fact the exact circumstances surrounding Rivers’ death are still publicly unknown

According to the Guardian, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice emailed AP’s Heather Busby the following: “The reality is that complications happen in all areas of medicine. There’s risk inherent in just about anything.

“You could have a heart attack and die while having your wisdom teeth removed. Should we outlaw wisdom teeth removal?”

Perry had, earlier on in the session, declined to comment on grand jury indictment over his potential abuse of power.

His comments on abortion start from 1:00:40 in the YouTube clip below.