The right’s bogus attack on Wendy Davis

A predictable new ad campaign criticizes her record on abortion -- here are the facts

Topics: Wendy Davis, Abortion, War on women, After Tiller, State Sen. Wendy Davis, Right to Life,

The right's bogus attack on Wendy DavisWendy Davis (Credit: AP/Eric Gay)

Just in time for Texas state senator Wendy Davis — who rose to a prominent place in the political spotlight this summer after her epic 11 hour filibuster over the draconian Senate Bill 5 – to announce her candidacy for governor on Thursday, the Texas Right to Life organization is rolling out radio ads denouncing her as the “abortion zealot” they want voters to think she is.

But considering that Texas Right to Life boldly calls itself the “Pro-Life Truth Team,” maybe it’d be a good time to examine the truthiness of that team. On its site, it states “Wendy Davis opposes any limits on abortion and even called late term abortions ‘sacred ground.’” In the ad, which will run in English and Spanish, the organization declares, “Wendy Davis puts late-term abortion ahead of our faith, our families and our Texas values…. This past summer, Republicans and Democratic state legislators passed limits on second and third trimester abortions when babies are fully formed. Extremist groups protested this new law and rallied around abortion zealot State Senator Wendy Davis. Wendy Davis believes terminating babies even halfway through pregnancy is okay. Wendy Davis is wrong on life, wrong for our children and wrong for Texas.”

How “okay” does Davis feel about the issue? Here’s what she said in a July interview with the Texas Observer: “The mutual goal is to decrease abortion. No one is pro abortion…. The only thing that really gets to the root of decreasing that demand is decreasing unplanned pregnancies. And the only way to do that is to empower women to be able to achieve that. Women want to be responsible, and I think it is disrespectful to assume that women empowered to prevent unplanned pregnancies won’t choose that…. And the idea that somehow if we talk to young people about sex and the consequences of unprotected sex will create a demand for it is really absurd and unfortunately is contributing to the high rate of teen pregnancy we see in Texas.” Oh my God, what a lunatic. In a piece she wrote for CNN that same month, she noted that Senate Bill 5 “would close down almost 90% of the women’s clinics in this state. This comes after more than 50 women’s health clinics providing cancer screening and family planning services were closed because the Republicans withdrew state-financed support from them. Under this draconian proposal, a state as expansive as Texas would have only five clinics remaining to serve thousands and thousands of women.” Oh, yeah, sounds like she’s all about abortion and nothing but. Davis’ crazed position is that “The Supreme Court has made that decision, and it’s one of the protected liberties under our Constitution, and I respect the Constitutional protections that are in place today.” Extremist!

You Might Also Like

And that quote that late term abortion is “sacred ground”? What Davis said during an August luncheon: “I will seek common ground because we all must. But sometimes you have to take a stand on sacred ground. Liberty: the freedom to choose what your future will hold.” She didn’t call abortion sacred, you illiterate numbskulls, she called liberty sacred.

Sure, she has voted consistently in favor of women’s health and against attempts to undermine reproductive freedom. And though she’s taken considerable guff from the far right for stating, regarding late abortions, that “I again think that a lot of people don’t really understand the landscape of what’s happening in that arena today and what an incredibly small percentage of procedures take place,” she is quite correct. What is lost in the overheated rhetoric around choice is that late term procedures make up 1 percent of all abortions – and that the reasons women seek them often include devastating and fatal fetal abnormalities. What is conveniently overlooked in all the ostensible concern over precious life is that, as Dr. Susan Robinson, one of only four late term abortion providers in the nation explains, “This is a complex issue. This is not done casually.” Sometimes in life we are forced to make very difficult choices, but in this country, we still have a constitutionally protected right to make those choices. That’s not zealotry. That’s being reasonable and respectful. Not everyone is pro-choice, but as Davis has said, with words coming out of her own mouth, “No one is pro abortion.” And that, despite what the Texas Right to Life contingent would have you believe, is the truth.

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...