Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator running to replace Rick Perry as governor of Texas, owes her political stardom to two things: a pair of pink sneakers and her unstinting support for a woman’s right to terminate a late-term pregnancy in a substandard clinic. Yay Feminism!
By JONAH GOLDBERG
Tribune Content Agency
Last year, Davis led an 11-hour filibuster — that’s where the sneakers came in handy — to block legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do.
This was going on against the backdrop of the sensational Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania. Gosnell ran a “clinic” where he performed late-term abortions with a barbarity you’d expect to find in a “Saw” movie. Sometimes he’d “snip” the spines of fully delivered babies with a pair of scissors. His instruments were so unsanitary that some women got STDs from them.
In short, you’d certainly expect an activist to be up to speed on it.
Working on that theory, The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack caught up with Davis last August to ask her a few questions.
McCormack noted that once you got past the squalor and filth of the clinic, Gosnell’s illegal late-term abortions weren’t all that different from legal late-term abortions in other states. “What is the difference …,” McCormack asked, “between legal abortion at 23 weeks and what Gosnell did? Do you see a distinction?”
“I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case,” Davis replied. “But I do know that it happened in an ambulatory surgical center. And in Texas changing our clinics to that standard obviously isn’t going to make a difference.”
She should have stopped with “I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case” — because in the words of the grand jury report, the “abhorrent conditions and practices inside Gosnell’s clinic were directly attributable to the Pennsylvania Health Department’s refusal to treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical facilities.”
So the one thing she claimed to know wasn’t true. Also, what curious incuriosity.
When McCormack asked what to make of the fact that a majority of American women support a ban on late-term abortions, Davis responded, “I again think that a lot of people don’t really understand the landscape of what’s happening in that arena today.…”
In the course of a short conversation, she revealed that she didn’t know what she was talking about while casually dismissing the majority of American women who disagreed with her as not knowing what they’re talking about.
Fast-forward to 2014. Davis was recently interviewed by Jorge Ramos of Fusion TV. He asked her, “When does life start? When does a human being become one?”
Davis answered with a non-answer: “You know, the Supreme Court of course has answered this decision, in terms of what our protections are.” Blah blah blah.
But Davis is merely at the forefront of the cowardice epidemic. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Barack Obama couldn’t bring himself to say the word “abortion.” Indeed, in all of the “war on women” noise, abortion is wrapped in the velvety euphemisms of “women’s health” and “reproductive choice.”
Perhaps all of the rage is cover for a deep insecurity — maybe psychological, definitely political — about the reality of what they are defending. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, once said that life begins “when you bring your baby home” from the hospital. That is not very far from Davis’ position. But she doesn’t want to say that — certainly not in Texas! Better to change the subject to the evils of her opponents and — hey — have you seen my sneakers?
To reach Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of National Review Online, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.