Following her 2013 filibuster in protest of her state’s abortion restrictions, current Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis earned the respect and admiration of millions of pro-abortion activists across the nation. As it turns out, her affinity for killing the unborn is rooted in her own personal experiences with the procedure.
In a recent autobiography, the state senator revealed that an abortion had ended the lives of two of her children before they had the opportunity to enter the world. The first incident, she wrote, was in 1994 and was in response to an ectopic pregnancy her doctors told her must be aborted. The second occurred three years later after she was informed her unborn child suffered from an abnormality that could prove fatal.
With less than two months until Texas voters decide between Davis and her Republican rival, Greg Abbott, it is unclear how the revelation will affect her candidacy. Polling puts her far behind Abbott in the largely conservative state; and according to friend and political consultant Bill Miller, her forthcoming memoir could make matters worse.
Wendy Davis suggests that Greg Abbott hates kids. This might be the worst #GlassHouseRules violation ever. Self-awareness is hard!
— Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) September 8, 2014
“I saw this issue as giving her a great start,” he said of her pro-abortion stance, “but it’s not going to give her a great finish.”
The reason, he explained, is that her personal involvement with abortion could easily overshadow any other issues she hopes to raise in contrasting her views with those of her rival.
“It’s an issue she already owns,” he acknowledged. “Introducing it in the homestretch doesn’t help much, and it may block out anything else she wants to talk about.”
GOP pollster Marc DelSignore agrees, suggesting that some voters “on the fringes” might react positively to her personal story; however, most Texans are “not as susceptible to abortion one way or the other as being a defining issue.”
Democrat Party strategist Liz Chadderdon, however, thinks Davis can turn her narrative into a campaign saver — provided the message is delivered effectively.
“It’s easy to say, ‘This is the one thing that ends her campaign,’” she said. “I think she’s going to make it the one thing that could actually save her. It opens up the discussion that this happens to women across Texas every single day — we just don’t talk about it.”
As for Abbott, he did not try to spin the issue for political points, opting instead to extend his condolences to his opponent.
“The unspeakable pain of losing a child is beyond tragic for any parent. As a father, I grieve for the Davis family and for the loss of life,” he said.
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.