One of the plot lines in a movie I watched over the weekend involved a pregnant mother. The film was set in the 1940s, and I thought how blissfully ignorant were the days before ultrasounds and prenatal diagnoses gave mothers carrying ill or handicapped children the choice to bear them when nature decided or kill them beforehand.
Had Texas state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis been pregnant back then she would not have imagined the late-term baby girl doing flips inside her was “suffering.” Rather, Davis would have put her hand on her belly and smiled. Instead, quoting from Davis’ upcoming book, Forgetting to be Afraid, via the AP:
I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”
This was 1997. Davis and then husband had learned the brain of their preborn daughter “had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides” meaning the baby “would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery.”
So the couple decided “the most loving thing we could do for our daughter was to say good-bye,” as Davis explained in an “ABC Exclusive” that the Davis campaign scheduled to launch a book tour highlighting Davis’ abortion. “Say good-bye” in this case was code for “kill her,” which the Davises watched. Quoting MSNBC:
“In our doctor’s office, with tears flowing down both our faces, Jeff and I looked at our baby daughter’s beating heart on the sonogram screen for the last time,” Davis wrote. “And we watched as our doctor quieted it. It was over. She was gone. Our much-loved baby was gone.” She goes on to describe delivering the stillborn baby through cesarean section and how she and Jeff spent a day holding and mourning her.
Be still your heart
The Davises named their baby Tate Elise. “Quieting” little Tate’s heart in this case meant piercing it with a needle and injecting a drug, either Digoxin or potassium chloride, to cause a massive heart attack. Late-term abortionist George Tiller used the former. Quoting Matt Walsh:
Tiller said this was “painless” and “peaceful,” but why don’t you go and have a massive heart attack and then come back and tell us just how painless and peaceful it all was.
It is no wonder Davis then went into a funk, although I expect she’d say she was mourning and not suffering post-abortion guilt:
“An indescribable blackness followed. It was a deep, dark despair and grief, a heavy wave that crushed me, that made me wonder if I would ever surface … And when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed,” Davis wrote.
“Forever changed” for Davis meant turning into a late-term abortion zealot. On June 25, 2013, Davis conducted an 11-hr filibuster against a 20-week abortion ban in Texas. This would have seemed a good time to mention her own late-term abortion (as well as an earlier ectopic pregnancy), but she didn’t. Quoting Fox:
At one point during the filibuster, Davis said she almost felt compelled to talk about her failed pregnancies.
“But knowing such an unexpected and dramatically personal confession would overshadow the events of the day, I knew the time wasn’t right,” she wrote.
I’m not so sure. The emotional tug behind such a revelation might have impacted the outcome.
Another good time for Davis to mention her abortion would have been when she announced her candidacy for governor – to inoculate herself from “Abortion Barbie“ critiques.
A really good time to disclose her abortion would have been when a pro-lifer displayed “Abortion Barbie” posters in Los Angeles ahead of a celebrity fundraiser this past May. Knowing what we know now makes it pretty awful:
But Davis didn’t say anything then either.
Hail Mary pass
Now, with the election for governor less than two months away, and Davis losing in the polls to pro-life Republican Greg Abbott by double digits, Davis has decided to not only reveal her abortion but make it a large part of a book and her campaign. Quoting mysanantonio.com:
The story of her pregnancy with Tate, however, is a key part of her memoir. The book’s dedication begins, “For my daughters, Amber and Dru and Tate, who taught me a love deeper than I believed was possible.”
Amber is her daughter from her first marriage and Dru, from her second, to Jeff Davis….
Davis ends the book with a story of a time she felt Tate said good-bye to her, when she and her husband and friends were on a golf course and Davis was caught in a cylindrical swirl of leaves, lifted by the wind.
“And I felt her. I was sure of it. Tate. Moving through me, saying her good-byes to me. Letting me go,” Davis wrote.
From another mysanantonio.com article:
Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said… he found it “really jarring and kind of amazing” that the Davis campaign was highlighting the book to try to “maximize the benefit of this revelation.”
Good Morning America is featuring a Davis appearance Monday, and ABC promoted a snippet of the interview Saturday after stories broke about the memoir.
Whether Davis’ abortion revelation might help her politically was the calloused topic of an MSNBC segment, with the determination being yes, it will “resonate with moderate women.”
I utterly sympathize with parents who get devastating prenatal diagnoses such as that which the Davises received.
I even sympathize with mothers who decide to abort their babies in such cases. I know from viewing it firsthand the pressure placed upon them to abort while they are traumatized and vulnerable by a eugenic medical community that gives one-sided advice, either out of misplaced compassion or self-interest.
But I do not sympathize with a mother who bypasses less cynical opportunities to reveal her late-term abortion in lieu of a well-timed and financed book bombshell during the last weeks of a losing political campaign, and then to camouflage the reality of that abortion by calling it a “good-bye” done by “quiet[ing]” the heart.
And all the swooning by abortion sellers like Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, who praised Davis for her “unwavering courage,” makes me sick.
[Top photo via Associated Press]