HOUSTON -

A small group of pro-choice activists in Houston have criticized Gov. Rick Perry for his call to place more restrictions on abortion rights.

Perry spoke at the The Source Pregnancy Center in Houston on Tuesday.

"Protecting the rights of abortion providers and women's health are not the same thing," said Perry.

Perry said his goal is to make abortions in Texas as rare as possible under existing law.

He said he supports a bill that will be considered by the state legislature to ban abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which some doctors believe a fetus can feel pain.

"We believe unborn children deserve respect and recognition before their lives are cut short," he said.

The governor also wants lawmakers to pass a bill that would require doctors who perform abortions to have an agreement with local hospitals, allowing them to admit a woman undergoing an abortion in case of an emergency. In addition, he wants clinics where abortions are performed to become licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.

Outside the news conference, pro-choice activists said the governor is putting politics above the lives of Texas women.

"I think it's because he's trying to shore up his base in the right-wing extreme in preparation for another presidential run in the Republican Party," said Poppy Northcutt, president of Houston Area How.

Texas lawmakers will consider the proposed laws restricting abortion beginning in January.

According to the governor's office, 10 states have already passed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks.