Anita Perry, the wife of Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry, surprised a journalist over the weekend when she said abortion “could be a woman’s right.”

Discussing recent Texas legislation that places restrictions on abortions, Texas’ first lady said the law is actually intended to protect women. But it’s when she was asked whether her husband and his administration have the issue “right” that Perry seemed to go off script.

Gov. Rick Perrys Wife Stuns Journalist Evan Smith With Surprising Abortion Stance: I See It As a Womans Right

Texas Governor Rick Perry and his wife Anita attend the funeral for Van Cliburn at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday, March 3, 2013. (AP)

“Well, that’s really difficult for me Evan, because I see it as a woman’s right,” Perry told Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith. “If they want to do that, that is their decision. They have to live with that decision.”

Smith, seeming surprised by Perry’s answer, followed up: “Mrs. Perry I want to be sure that you didn’t just inadvertently make news. Are you saying that you believe that abortion is a woman’s right — to make that choice?”

“It is not mine. It is not something that I would say for them,” Perry responded.

Gov. Rick Perrys Wife Stuns Journalist Evan Smith With Surprising Abortion Stance: I See It As a Womans Right

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, and his wife, Anita, arrive for his state of the state address in the house chambers at the state capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP)

Liberal blog ThinkProgress transcribed the questions and comments that followed:

SMITH: Do you believe that the state is attempting to say for them? And that if the governor and the administration had its way it would say for women that it is not their right?

PERRY: I think it goes back to the states and Texas has decided that no that is not what we want in the state.

SMITH: But your personal point of view is that it’s a person’s decision within the law to make that choice?

PERRY: Well I don’t really think that’s making news. I mean, I think that yeah, that could be a woman’s right. Just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure.

Perry’s use of “procedure” is also likely to raise eyebrows among social conservatives who generally take issue with the word to describe abortions. At the same time, her comments are likely to resonate with state’s rights advocates.

Watch the exchange:

Perry’s comments come at a critical time in the battle over the state’s new abortion law: Planned Parenthood, the nation’s single largest abortion provider, announced Friday it is suing over the new regulations.

The lawsuit targets specific portions of the Texas omnibus abortion bill, including provisions that would impose stricter sanitary standards on abortion clinics and require providers gain admitting privileges at local hospitals, NBC News reported.

Other Must-Read Stories