Senator Wendy Davis has hit back at Texas governor Rick Perry for “bullying women” to further his own agenda, as Texas lawmakers return for a second special session to debate anti-abortion legislation this week.
Senator Davis, who achieved significant levels of social media fame last week after her marathon filibuster halted the SB5 bill that would have seen restrictions placed on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy and close the majority of Texas abortion clinics, is doing the rounds on US chat shows in the days leading up to the renewal of the debate.
Although Davis’ 13-hour filibuster attempt temporarily defeated the bill, Governor Perry has called the legislature back into session to resume debate, and Republicans are confident the legislation will pass this time as they now have a month to consider it.
Davis has gone on the offensive against top Republican politicians telling Sunday’s Meet the Press that the events of the past week show people have grown weary of politicians who try to boost their own political careers by “bullying women and their liberties” in order to promote personal agendas.
She said the politicians involved with the anti-abortion bill were wiling to “put women in harm’s way in order to step up on the political ladder”.
Her comments came in response to Governor Perry, who made controversial statements late last week alluding to Davis’ background (she became a single mum at 19 and went on to study at Harvard Law School).
“It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realise its full potential, and that every life matters,” Perry said at the National Right to Life conference.
Davis replied that Perry’s comments were terribly personal, and “emblematic of this broader issue”, but that she doesn’t regret standing up for women.
“The important thing that happened here, we were giving voice to thousands and thousands of women across the state of Texas who felt they’d been cut off from this dialogue,” Davis told Meet the Press.
Davis added she expects Republican lawmakers would be “smarter” about how they manage the bill in the upcoming special legislative session.
“They mismanaged the clock terribly last time, and they also ran roughshod over a lot of our senate rules and traditions to try to ram this bill through. And they’ll probably be a bit smarter about how they try to move this bill in this next session starting on Monday,” she said. “But what they now have to confront is that the eyes of Texas, the eyes of the country are watching.”