Gov. Perry "Bullying Women" To Step Up Political Ladder

By: CBS/AP (Posted Kion Hudson)
By: CBS/AP (Posted Kion Hudson)

(CBS/AP)-- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's insinuation that state senator Wendy Davis should remember her own mother chose not to abort her was "a terrible personal thing to say," the Lone Star Democrat said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

"I've been in the political arena for some time, and it takes a lot to offend me," Davis said. "But what I was offended about was the statement it makes on behalf of women throughout the state of Texas. I think it showed disregard for the fact we all we each own our own personal history, we make choices and have the opportunity to take chances that present themselves to us. What this is about is making sure that women across the state of Texas have the same opportunity to make those choices and have the same chances that I had."

Perry's suggestion that Davis, a single mother of two daughters and graduate of Harvard Law School, should "learn from her own example" that "every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential" came at the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas on Thursday, two days after Davis blocked extensive abortion restrictions with an 11-hour filibuster. The governor subsequently announced a second special session to pass the measure on July 1, and Davis predicted the majority-GOP body will be "a bit smarter" the next time around.

"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," she said. "And they'll probably be a little bit smarter about how they try to move this bill in this next session starting on Monday.

"But, what they now have to confront is that the eyes of Texas, the eyes of the country, are watching and they are going to be held accountable for the decisions that they make in this process," Davis continued. "And if people continue to see that their voices are being ignored I think we're going to see a long-term sustained response to that in the state of Texas."

If the measure goes through, Texas would implement a 20-week abortion limit and close most of its abortion clinics. Davis argued that "sets up, unfortunately for women in Texas, a very dangerous place for their reproductive rights and healthcare." But Perry - who oft appears on short lists for the 2016 presidential campaign - and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, she added, are pushing the legislation in an effort "to step up on the political ladder."

"I think really what's happening here... is politicians are using this issue to boost their own political aspirations, their own political positions - and they're bulling women and their liberties, their personal constitutionally-guaranteed liberties, in the process," she said.

"People who are completely objective and outside the political dialogue, like the American Obstetrics and Gynecology College, are saying to us: If this happens in Texas, women in impoverished, remote areas of Texas - and believe me, that means of thousands and thousands and thousands of women will no longer have access to this safe reproductive healthcare. And we all know what happens in the context of the lack of that access; we've seen it before in our country's history."

Following Davis's appearance, CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford said on the show that state legislatures across the country are fighting similar battles, with conservatives pushing not only later-term abortion restrictions, but also laws requiring women to seek ultrasounds before they get abortions and tougher rules for parental involvement for insurance coverage.

"All of these restrictions are now going, really, sweeping across the country," Crawford said, "and that's because the Supreme Court back in 2007 signaled that it was going to allow greater restrictions on abortion. And the states have responded. Now, that said, this Supreme Court has said we're going to allow these restrictions... but this Supreme Court right now is not going allow an outright ban on abortion. There are not five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade on this Supreme Court and that, of course, is because of that man in the middle [Justice Anthony Kennedy]."


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