Sonny Perdue, who signed anti-choice laws such as a waiting period for abortions during his time as governor of Georgia, was chosen Thursday by Republican President-elect Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture,” said Trump in a statement marking the announcement. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”
During his 2002 run for the gubernatorial office, Perdue agreed to adopt a set of stringent anti-choice positions in order to win the endorsement of Georgia Right to Life, which required candidates to vow to support banning abortion in all cases except life endangerment. After winning office that November, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he supported abortion restrictions that he deemed “reasonable,” such as forced waiting periods, and would work with the state’s legislature on the issue.
The next year, Perdue urged conservative legislators to send a so-called informed consent measure to his desk requiring those seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after receiving state-mandated information on what Perdue called “the physical and psychological damages that occur afterwards.” That law, which also included a provision requiring parental notification for minors to obtain an abortion, was eventually passed and signed by Purdue in 2005 after Republicans gained full majority in the state legislature the November prior.
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According to the Guttmacher Institute, counseling restrictions often require “information that is irrelevant or misleading.”
Georgia is no exception. The current version of the state-mandated information booklet, titled “Abortion: A Woman’s Right to Know,” suggests that a fetus experiences pain at 20 weeks’ gestation, a claim that is medically and scientifically unsupported.
Perdue signed a so-called feticide measure into law in Georgia in 2006, though the bill does not permit prosecuting a pregnant person for attempting to end their own pregnancy. While on the campaign trail last year, Trump notoriously called for those who have an abortion to be punished should it become illegal, though he later clarified after several changes in stance that he believed only doctors—not abortion patients—should be punished.
In 2007, Perdue signed another anti-choice law forcing doctors to offer to show an ultrasound to those seeking an abortion.
That same year, Perdue gained national attention when he responded to a drought by holding a prayer vigil for rain at the capitol. “We’ve come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm,” he said during the event. Perdue had also imposed water-use restrictions on residents and asked the federal government for aid.
In a 2014 post for the conservative National Review, Perdue suggested that liberals who speak out about climate change “have lost all credibility” because their arguments are “ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.”