Last summer, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis became famous for filibustering a proposed state law that would ban abortions in Texas after five months and upgrade standards in abortion clinics. The law, which was sponsored by two Texas Republican women in the House and Senate, was drafted in response to the grisly Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania. In that case, Gosnell’s unpoliced and unregulated abortion clinic became a slaughterhouse in which he kept souvenirs of fetuses, and in which women who sought abortions were maimed and some died, while he allowed staff with no medical training to participate in abortion procedures. He is serving life in prison for his actions.
Abortion, or specifically Davis’ filibuster of that Texas law, made a media darling out of her:
Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can't Stop Talking.
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) June 26, 2013
But it is a problem when running for statewide office in conservative Texas. To present herself as more than a one-issue pol, Davis has implausibly claimed that she is “pro-life.”
Now Davis says that she really wants abortions to be rare. She tells Jorge Ramos that “We want [abortion] to be rare but most certainly I think that we should fight to continue to make sure that woman are safe.”
The law that she filibustered for 13 hours was an attempt to do both. It proscribed abortion after five months, and upgraded standards at clinics. It ensured that abortion providing doctors have admitting rights at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics, so that if something goes wrong, the doctors can swiftly get their patients admitted to a hospital for better care. It was a reasonable bill that majority of Texans support, and was sponsored by women in the Texas legislature.
Davis filibustered the bill and dishonestly claims to #StandWithTexasWomen now.
Davis’ stance boils down to this: Abortions should be “rare,” but there should be no legislation crafted to make sure that they really are. Women should be safe, but you dare not pass any laws that ensure that they actually are. If you do, Wendy Davis will accuse you of waging war on women.
Despite Davis’ filibuster, which included her allies chanting “Hail Satan!” and carrying jars of urine and feces into the state capitol in Austin, the law passed. Abortions will become more rare, and women will be more safe.
No thanks to Wendy Davis.