Perry to co-chair Americans United for Life gala in November

Newly minted GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry will co-chair an event for Americans United for Life, the country's oldest national anti-abortion organization, The Ticket has learned.

Perry will join House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as co-chairs of the the public-interest law and policy group's 40th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C. in November. Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann will also serve as an honorary host of the event, along with 78 other members of Congress. AUL was formed in 1971--a year before the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in every state.

As governor of Texas, Perry has signed several bills into law related to abortion, earning him praise from conservatives and scorn from pro-abortion rights groups.

In May, Perry signed a Texas bill into law requiring that all women seeking abortions receive a sonogram before the procedure. The law mandates that doctors offer to show the images to the woman, describe the size of the fetus' limbs and organs, and allow her to hear and feel the heartbeat. Women who live within 100 miles of an abortion provider must then wait 24 hours after the sonogram to undergo the procedure. The law exempted women seeking abortions for rape or incest.

"This important bill will ensure that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying and understands the devastating impact of such a life-changing decision," Perry said during a ceremonial signing of the bill, which takes effect Sept. 1. Abortion rights advocacy groups are currently challenging the new law.

Perry also signed a bill into law this year that would make "Choose Life" license plates available to Texas motorists and direct the revenue from the plates to state pregnancy centers that do not offer abortion services.

Largely due to Perry's efforts since he moved into the governor's mansion in 2000, AUL rated Texas in the top five states in its latest annual state-by-state report card.

Perry temporarily found himself in hot water with anti-abortion groups last month, however, when he labeled the procedure a "states rights issue." He quickly walked back his comments and said he would support an amendment to the federal Constitution that banned abortions in all 50 states.

The AUL event will be held at the Newseum in downtown Washington on Nov. 2.