Wendy Davis caught a lot of flack from her pro-abortion supporters after inexplicably claiming that she supported 20-week abortion bans. After a fair amount of unsurprising backlash, she quickly changed her position again, reiterating that she’s actually against 20-week abortion bans. The entire debacle started because she wanted to appeal to the rather conservative Texas voters, the majority of whom supported the bill she spent 11 hours filibustering. So she tried to talk out of both sides of her mouth, and it backfired on her.
The Daily Beast ran an article, written by Keli Goff, that offers a rather strange defense of Davis. According to Goff, Davis is America’s conscience on abortion.
Wendy Davis, Texas gubernatorial candidate, and feminist icon in the making, recently came under fire for allegedly committing the cardinal campaign sin of flip-flopping. The alleged flip-flop in question is not on just any old issue either, but abortion, the issue that put Davis on the national political map.
… According to the most recent Gallup poll, while 26 percent of Americans believe abortion should be permitted in all circumstances, 20 percent believe it should be illegal in all circumstances, but the majority of Americans, 52 percent, believe it should be permitted “in only certain circumstances.” But within that group there is a great deal of gradation—much of it tied to specific timelines within pregnancy. Despite more than half of Americans believing abortion should be legal in “certain circumstances,” 64 percent believe it should be illegal in the second three months of pregnancy. That number jumps to 80 percent in the final three months. That means that most Americans—including those who believe abortion should be legal—wouldn’t consider the Texas 20-week ban extreme, or unreasonable.
… What’s particularly frustrating about the faux controversy about Davis’s alleged flip-flop is it distracts from the bigger issues at stake in the current reproductive rights debate in Texas and beyond. The 20-week ban was arguably the least troubling part of the bill she filibustered the day she became a national progressive shero. The other measures included in the bill, including those that issued such stringent requirements on abortion providers that the end result made Planned Parenthood species in Texas, were much more troubling, because they help so many women in need—and not just those seeking an abortion, but those seeking birth control pills and breast exams.
If Davis made any misstep at all, it was the gaffe she made by simply telling the truth, which is that her position on abortion is like that of most thinking, feeling, Americans with a conscience. Most of those Americans are not fully “pro-choice” or “pro-life” but if given a say in the matter would probably describe themselves as “pro-it’s-complicated,” because life is messy and rarely black and white, and so our discussion of issues like abortion shouldn’t be framed as black and white either. Even if the discussion is being led by a rising feminist star.
Davis’s star is far from rising – she’s bumbled her way through her gubernatorial campaign, making one misstep after another – and to call her America’s conscience on abortion is rather baffling.
Let’s reiterate how Wendy Davis found herself in this position. She filibustered a bill for 11 hours that the majority of Texans supported. The support Davis got for her filibuster came largely from outside Texas, provided by president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards and the pro-abortion lobby.
Most Americans also support “extreme” pro-life laws like parental consent requirements, mandatory admitting privileges, and requiring abortionists to be held to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. These are things that Davis opposes, and not just a little bit.
She stood for 11 hours, went so far as to even wear a catheter, in order to keep late-term abortion legal and to prevent abortion clinics from being held to the same standards that virtually every other doctor’s office is held to. Safety for women? Nuance? No, those things aren’t important to extremists like Wendy Davis. The least we can do is be honest here. Acting as if Davis is somehow a centrist on abortion is not only laughable; it’s an insult.
Look, what Wendy Davis is trying to do is hardly shocking. She’s not the first politician to try to veer toward the center and flip-flop in order to win an election, and she’ll hardly be the last. Since starting her campaign, she’s tried to avoid the abortion issue as much as she can, and is trying to convince the world that she’s more than just a shill for Planned Parenthood and Big Abortion. But that doesn’t mean that history needs to be rewritten. The pro-abortion media is surely invested in seeing her win, that much isn’t surprising.
But America’s conscience on abortion? Please. The only conscience she has is the one given to her by Planned Parenthood.