Wendy Davis: Rick Perry ‘demeans the office he holds’

Standing in front of a portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, begins a filibuster in an effort to kill an abortion bill,...
Standing in front of a portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, begins a filibuster in an effort to kill an abortion bill,...
Eric Gay/AP

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis slammed Republican Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for using her family and life to argue against abortion.

“I think it demeans the office he holds,” Davis said on Friday’s Morning Joe. The Fort Worth Democrat became a political celebrity on Tuesday when her day-long filibuster blocked a restrictive abortion bill; Perry fought back, calling a special session to ensure a vote and throwing personal barbs at Davis for being the daughter of a single mom and a teen mom herself.

“Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances,” Perry said at the National Right to Life Conference on Thursday. “It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, and that every life matters.”

But Davis said Perry is just showing his true colors.

“Clearly, Gov. Perry has been using this issue as one to serve his own political purpose. He revealed that to an even greater extent yesterday,” she said.

The bill would drastically limit abortion access in the state by forcing clinics to upgrade their facilities to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers and requiring doctors to have hospital rights within 30 miles—both restrictions that critics say are medically unnecessary restriction and designed to create a defacto ban, particularly in more rural areas. It also would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

“If you combine the limitations on the number of facilities and very purposefully constrain the number of doctors who would be capable of performing these services for women, you’ve created an environment in Texas where you’ve put women’s health at risk,” she said. “Women’s health, if this bill were to go into law, truly is put into risk.”

Even the bill’s supporters couldn’t find an anecdote where the bill’s provisions would have improve women’s health, Davis said.

“We asked for one single example where that setting was putting women’s health at jeopardy and no one could point a single instance of that,” she said.

Now, with another vote looming as early as next week, Davis said she hopes to use her headline-grabbing filibuster to mobilize support against the bill.

“The strategy will be to employ the individual voices that really made the difference on this in the last special session,” Davis said of the vocal supporter who shouted down an attempted down-to-the-wire vote at the end of her filibuster.

“I think that [the filibuster] empowered people in Texas and across the country and I expect they’re going to do everything they can to make sure their voices are heard in this next session,” the Democrat said on Friday.

Davis added that the bill aims to take away the choice she herself had.

“I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life. I’m so proud of my daughters, but I could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice,” she said Friday. “It isn’t for him to make statements like that.”

Wendy Davis: Rick Perry 'demeans the office he holds'