The ignorance of Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator running to replace Rick Perry as governor of Texas, owes her political stardom to two things: a pair of pink sneakers and her unstinting support for a woman's right to terminate a late-term pregnancy in a substandard clinic. Yay Feminism!Sometimes its hard to tell her willful ignorance from her willful deceit. She seems to be comfortable just making things up about her own biography and about issues central to her political viability.
Last year, Davis led an 11-hour filibuster -- that's where the sneakers came in handy -- to block legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do.
This was all going on against the backdrop of the sensational Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania. Gosnell ran a bloody, filthy "clinic" where he performed late-term abortions with a barbarity you'd expect to find in a "Saw" movie. Sometimes he'd "snip" the spines of fully delivered babies with a pair of scissors. His instruments were so unsanitary that some women got STDs from them. Cat feces was a common sight on the procedure room floors.
In short, you didn't need to be an abortion-rights activist to find the story of interest, but you'd certainly expect an activist to be up to speed on it.
Working on that theory, The Weekly Standard's John McCormack caught up with Davis last August to ask her a few questions.
McCormack noted that once you got past the squalor and filth of the clinic, Gosnell's illegal late-term abortions weren't all that different from legal late-term abortions in other states. "What is the difference ...," McCormack asked, "between legal abortion at 23 weeks and what Gosnell did? Do you see a distinction between those two [acts]?"
"I don't know what happened in the Gosnell case," Davis replied. "But I do know that it happened in an ambulatory surgical center. And in Texas changing our clinics to that standard obviously isn't going to make a difference."
She should have stopped with "I don't what happened in the Gosnell case" -- because in the words of the grand jury report, the "abhorrent conditions and practices inside Gosnell's clinic [were] directly attributable to the Pennsylvania Health Department's refusal to treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical facilities."
So the one thing she claimed to know wasn't true. Also, what curious incuriosity. If you were suddenly a national leader on an issue you felt passionately about, wouldn't you want to know what happened in a case that cuts to the heart of your cause?
Not Davis. Her time is better spent denouncing the ignorance of women who disagree with her. When McCormack asked what to make of the fact that a majority of American women support a ban on late-term abortions, Davis responded, "I again think that a lot of people don't really understand the landscape of what's happening in that arena today ..."