Four Republican presidential hopefuls participated tonight in a radio forum organized by PersonhoodUSA, a group pushing congress to pass a bill declaring that life begins at conception and one candidate revealed his views on the issue have changed.

Rick Perry, who has opposed nearly all abortions, said he no longer favors exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Perry recently met with a woman who was conceived in a rape.

“Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest,” Perry said.

Perry met the woman earlier this month when he attended the premiere of a documentary called “The Gift of Life”.

“She made a statement to me that was really profound and pierced my heart,” Perry said.

Perry has touted what he calls his “pro-life credentials” on the campaign trail, acting to “defund” Planned Parenthood in Texas, where he is governor, and requiring parental consent there before a minor can obtain an abortion. But Perry has supported abortion exceptions in cases of rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy. But he unveiled during tonight’s telephone town hall meeting with abortion foes that he had undergone a transformation this Christmas season.

“All I can tell you is God was working on my heart,” Perry said.  (Audio of Perry’s remarks posted here.)

Organizers said nearly 26,000 people listened to the event by telephone. It was broadcast nationally on The Steve Deace Show and another radio network.