As if it wasn't bad enough that the Texas GOP lied about passing an anti-abortion bill after using unscrupulous tactics to try to thwart State Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster against the bill, Texas Governor Rick Perry subsequently called for a special legislative session on July 1st in order to get the bill passed. It remains to be seen how Lone Star Democrats will deal with the proceedings on July 1, but Perry's mission is clear. Not only does he want to shut down the majority of abortion providers in Texas, he has no qualms about insulting Wendy Davis in the process.
NBC News reports that while speaking at the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas today, Perry accused Davis of "hijacking the democratic process" and not having "learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters." NBC notes that Davis was "born into adversity" and became "a teenage mother before going on to success as a Harvard law grad and legislator."
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It's not only incredibly condescending for Perry to try to use Davis - who is so passionate about women's rights she stood and spoke for 11 hours without stopping, leaning, eating or peeing - to prove his competing point, it's downright classless and mean. (Not that after eight years of George W. Bush we shouldn't be used to that kind of conservative Texan hubris.) Perry "told those gathered that it was lawmakers' duty to prevent abortions, regardless of the conditions into which a child may be born," so in essence Perry is happy to see children born to parents addicted to drugs and then provide them with no public assistance. Presumably then these children would be taken into foster care? According to national statistics provided by Arrow Child and Family Ministries, "40 to 50 percent of those children [in foster care] will never complete high school. Sixty-six percent of them will be homeless, go to jail or die within one year of leaving the foster care system at 18." Perfect. Why end a pregnancy when you can watch a living human being suffer and struggle only to die at 19?
Wendy Davis is the exception to the rule when it comes to escaping a life of adversity and poverty. She is the daughter of a single mother who had a child as a teen and she still advocates for the right to choose. What does that tell you? That Davis - based on the difficulty of her life experience - understands that women should be free to terminate a pregnancy if they know they're unable to care for a child, or if their life or the life of the unborn child is in danger, or if they became pregnant as the result of rape. Yes, Davis chose to have her child, and she believes other women should also have children by choice, not because they are forced to by the state. Davis has learned from her own example that every life matters, including the lives of the Texas women she is fighting for.
Davis responded to Perry's remarks in a statement, saying, "Rick Perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test."
If you want to #standwithwendy, you can add your name to Organizing for Action's list of supporters here.
-By Carolyn Castiglia
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