Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted his strong anti-abortion rights record for the conservative crowd at the Iowa Faith and Freedom dinner on Saturday night, seeking to differentiate himself from those at the top of the polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

"On this issue, you don't just need to listen to my words, but you can look at my record," Perry said. "Being pro-life is not a matter of campaign convenience; it is a core conviction."

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Perry said that in Texas he had signed laws that require a woman to have a sonogram before an abortion and that defunded Planned Parenthood. 

He also promised to stop "activist judges" that upheld laws protecting abortion rights and to appoint "strict constructionist" judges who would undo those laws.

Cain did not mention the names of the Republican race's front-runners, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and businessman Herman Cain, but both have expressed views that left social conservatives questioning their stances on abortion.

Romney in the past stated his support for abortion rights but changed his position when he was governor. Romney did not attend the Faith and Freedom dinner.

Cain stumbled on the abortion issue this week, saying in a CNN interview, "It's not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision."

"It is a liberal canard to say, 'I am personally pro-life but government should stay out of that decision,'" Perry said. "If that is your view, you are not pro-life. You are pro-having your cake and eating it, too."

Cain has spent much of the week walking back those comments and in his speech to the Faith and Freedom dinner, he said, "No abortions, no exceptions."