Infinitely flexible positions now are the hallmark of Wendy Davis’ campaign.
Erick Erickson caught a lot of flak for designating Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” because of her cluelessness about the Gosnell shop of horrors at the same time she was fighting a reasonable proposed requirement that abortion clinics meet normal surgical center standards and abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hostpitals.
It was those standards, designed to present another Gosnell nightmare that mangled mothers and children alike, that was the focus of Davis’ ire, as Kirsten Powers noted at the time:
This is incredible. After all, Davis is the state senator who held an 11-hour filibuster to fight legislation drafted in response to the abuses at Gosnell’s clinic. A passing knowledge of the case seems like basic due diligence.
She went on: “But I do know that [Gosnell] happened in an ambulatory surgical center. And in Texas changing our clinics to that standard obviously isn’t going to make a difference.” It takes real skill to pack so many falsehoods into so few words.
Now she’s bending, if not outright flip-flogging, on late term abortion, as reported by the Dallas Morning News, Wendy Davis backs 20-week abortion ban that defers to women:
But the Democrat said the state’s new abortion law didn’t give priority to women in those circumstances. The law allows for exceptions for fetal abnormalities and a threat to the woman’s life, but Davis said those didn’t go far enough.
“My concern, even in the way the 20-week ban was written in this particular bill, was that it didn’t give enough deference between a woman and her doctor making this difficult decision, and instead tried to legislatively define what it was,” Davis said.
The provision was part of a sweeping bill the Legislature considered this summer to place new restrictions on abortion providers. Davis initially filibustered to stop the bill, drawing nationwide attention as a special session ended with a raucous crowd disrupting the Senate’s consideration of the bill. Eventually, lawmakers approved the law in another session. Parts of it are under court review, though the 20-week ban is in effect.
Noah Rothman at Mediaite sums this shift up best, Wendy Davis Gives Up on Being Wendy Davis:
And, with that, the face of the opposition to that divisive law abdicated that role. This is the latest in a string of efforts by Davis’ campaign to soften her stance on abortion restrictions, but this and other statements stand in stark contrast to the state senator’s pronouncements while she was still basking in the national media’s limelight.
“Other women of course should be able to define their own destinies and this idea that the heavy hand of government should somehow come in and tell her how to do that is deeply resented in [a] state like Texas,” Davis told The Huffington Post in June of last year. “It’s deeply resented everywhere, but if you know anything about Texas, we hold very strongly to our traditions and our values where personal liberties are concerned.”
“Sen. Davis’ filibuster was a turning point,” Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, told the Fort Worth Telegram in December. “It is a perfect example of how events can turn things around quickly.”
They sure can. Maybe the Lone Star State’s Democrats will want to take a second look at the politician they have been grooming for years to become the face of their party in Texas now that Davis’ novelty looks increasingly like amateurishness.
In hindsight, maybe the anaology to Barbie was inappropriate, but not for the supposed sexism reasons usually argued.
Gumby may be a more appropriate analogy, because on her personal narrative and key policy positions, Davis is infinitely flexible.