Wendy Davis will lose because of her advocacy for late term abortions
Objectively speaking, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis may champion the least popular political position in the country. Not that you’d know it when reading most accounts of her rise to prominence. Ever since the summer, when Davis filibustered the legislative session to delay the passage of a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, much of the coverage has avoided accurately describing why we know who Wendy Davis is in the first place.A substantial majority of Texans oppose late term abortions. This includes members of the Democrat party base like Hispanics. It is an issue where the passions are strong on both sides but the sides with the most votes opposes Windy Wendy Davis.
In a recent New Republic piece, Nate Cohn argued that Davis has no shot of winning statewide office Texas — all the time rigorously avoiding any mention of late-term abortion. Time magazine asks: Is she Cinderella or Joan of Arc? In a Politico column, ambitiously titled “Abortion is a winning issue for Wendy Davis,” Jason Stanford, a Democratic consultant from Texas, tells us abortion is a political winner without ever telling us Davis’ position.
Stanford fails to offer much in the way of evidence, though he seems especially frustrated that Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who will oppose Davis in the gubernatorial race, hasn’t yet had the “guts” to sound like Todd Akin, instead offering distressingly rational statements, like: “If you’re really pro-life, you want to save every life, but that also includes the mother’s life. The life of the mother is just as precious as the life of the child.”
According to Stanford, though, the one ray of hope for Texas Democrats is this:In a June University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 38.65 percent of moderates, 38.36 percent of suburbanites, and 29.31 percent of soft Republicans agreed with the position that abortion should be a legal and personal choice. Those are minority opinions, to be sure, but Democrats haven’t scored that high in the suburbs since Ann Richards was governor. Add to their numbers the suburban Texas women who support exceptions for rape and incest — and who might think twice about electing a governor who didn’t — and Davis could have an opening.
That’s interesting but irrelevant. The question is: are these suburban Texans any more inclined to believe that it’s a “legal and personal” choice to destroy a fetus in the 6th or 7th month. And are they more likely to “think twice” about voting for a “governor” who opposes a bill that allows the practice without any real limits?
The reason so many pro-choice advocates avoid the question is simple. That Texas Tribune poll Stanford mentions also finds that 62 percent of Texans support more restrictions on late-term abortions, and national numbers are similar. A Gallup poll found that those who think abortion should be legal in all circumstances was only 26 percent, while 52 percent favored limiting the procedure. A National Journal poll – even though it’s question was biased, as John McCormack of the Weekly Standard points out – found that a bill passed House of Representatives earlier this year restricting abortion after 20 weeks was supported 48 percent to 44 percent, with independents supporting it by a 14-point margin.