Perry vs. Davis: Abortion Debate Grows Personal

Photograph by Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo

Governor Rick Perry at the National Right To Life Convention on June 27, 2013, at a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, airport hotel.

Written with David Mildenberg

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, who filibustered in pink tennis shoes for more than 10 hours to block an abortion bill in a special session of the state legislature, failed to learn from her own example, Gov. Rick Perry says.

Davis is en example of someone who rose from “difficult circumstances,” said Perry, a Republican, in his remarks at the National Right to Life Convention at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport today. Counting the many thousands of lives he says have been cut short by abortion, the Texan used Davis’ bootstrap success story as an example of lives that should ”be given a chance.”

He has called a second special session of lawmakers to reconsider restrictions which include a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. The bill, which had cleared the House, failed in the Senate as Davis ran the clock to the cheers of supporters in Austin and around the Twitter world. At one point police forced spectators from the gallery. In the end, the votes were not counted before the midnight deadline. Perry today denounced the opposition as “mob tactics.”

Davis, a Democrat, began working after school at age 14 to help support her single mother and three siblings, according to her Web-site, and by 19 she was a single mother herself, working two jobs to make ends meet. Through a brochure she learned about a paralegal program at Tarrant County Community College. Perry cited Davis’s rise from these beginnings to her Harvard Law degree and career representing Fort Worth in the state Senate.

“It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example,” Perry told the Right to Life assemblage. “Every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential.”

Davis wasn’t pleased with Perry’s comments. In a statement distributed by a spokesman, she said Perry’s comments are “without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds.”

“They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view,” Davis said in the statement. “Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Governor Perry fails that test.”

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