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Wendy Davis: the latest mythic pro-abortion figure

by | Jul 24, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis

Pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis

I had just finished reading Glenn Frankel’s “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,” an entertaining, thoughtful analysis of one of the best Westerns ever made that starred John Wayne. Literally the next day I ran across this opening paragraph in a New York Times profile of pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis that ought (if it were possible) to make the entire newspaper blush.

“She comes from a key district in North Texas, has a slow twang, battle scars and ferocity of spirit, and after one drama-filled day in the bitter abortion fight in the Texas Legislature, Wendy Davis has become a national political star and charismatic new face of women’s rights.”

Davis’ 11-hour filibuster (or 13, but who’s counting?) of HB 2 instantly became the stuff of legends. Previously unknown to the point of obscurity, this “overnight sensation” was elevated to superstar status, who had singlehandedly, according to a thoroughly infatuated Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, “pumped life into the moribund Texas Democratic Party, recharged the state’s women’s movement, raised nearly $1 million in two weeks for her re-election campaign and, not least, was beseeched by supporters and some in her party to run for governor in 2014, which might be a quixotic quest in a state that has not elected a Democrat to that office in 20 years.”

Indeed, by the sixth paragraph of her Times story we learn that Emily’s List, the pro-abortion PAC that sinks its considerable resources only into the campaigns of the most pro-pro-abortion female candidates has “included the senator on a recent list of potential female presidential candidates and has declared a stake in her success, saying, ‘Emily’s List helped elect Wendy Davis to the Texas State Legislature in 2008, and supported her competitive re-election campaign in 2012.’”

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Davis was not speaking on behalf of Texans. The key provision in HB 2—a ban on aborting pain-capable unborn children (20 weeks)—was endorsed by a whopping 62%.

So on whose behalf was Davis wagering her “heroic battle”? Those pro-abortion Democrats whose militancy is off the charts. “Abortion on demand and without apology” is their starting point.

Actually, to be more complete, Davis was also carrying the baton for most of the “mainstream media” where the range of acceptable opinion has shrank at the same time its news rooms have grown more diverse in its composition. In our case, that means they are even more ready and willing to demonize pro-lifers and make heroines out of those who hold genuinely radical opinions on the issue.

We ran a post yesterday based on a column run by the deputy editor of the Dallas Morning News’ editorial page (“On second thought maybe HB 2 isn’t so bad after all,” http://nrlc.cc/13b8QZW). Today I liked to offer a few words on a column by Rodger Jones, another contributor to the DMN’s editorial page.

Headlined “Will the DMN’s Texan of the Year come out the abortion wars in Austin? Wendy Davis, perhaps?” Jones correctly observes that the “media is in love with her”; that she has a compelling life story (which pro-life Gov. Rick Perry complimented—she is a single mom); that “she’s the one who’s credited with temporarily defeating the mean old GOP anti-abortion juggernaut (even though it was the noisy gallery that stopped the abortion bill from being passed in the Senate in one special session)”; and that she was “the one who got national airtime and political donations from around the nation.”

On top of all that—and endless waves of favorable media attention from national as well as Texas media—Jones asks, “could this newspaper possibly seem to pick sides in the abortion debate by lavishing even more attention on Davis and bestowing the Texan of the Year mantle?”

Jones would likely have been crushed anyway by some of those who posted responses (he had dared to point out that it was the mob after the filibuster that stopped action). But he was guaranteed to get hammered when he noted (as mentioned above) that public opinion supported the 20-week ban.

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And if there was any chance he’d avoid a bruising it ended when Jones wrote,

“Davis was a consequential figure for the moment and got people’s blood pressure elevated. But her side eventually lost, badly and predictably. So how consequential was she beyond a flurry of publicity during some slow news days?”

He should’ve read Ms. Torregrosa’s puff piece. Then he would have understood that

“Whatever Ms. Davis decides to do next, her rise nationally could not have happened at a better time for women’s rights groups, which are facing hard-line conservatives in Congress and in state legislatures, a legacy of the 2010 midterm elections, which swept Tea Party candidates into office.”

Or as the headline explained more succinctly, “After Filibuster, a Star Rises in Texas.”

If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at twitter.com/daveha. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com.

Categories: pro-abortion