AUSTIN, Texas–The Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate who was sprung to fame when she temporarily delayed passage of sweeping new abortion restrictions in Texas reveals in a new memoir that she terminated two pregnancies for medical reasons.
Wendy Davis writes in a new campaign memoir the in the 1990s she had two abortions, including one where the fetus had developed a severe brain abnormality.
Davis writes in “Forgetting to be Afraid” that she had an abortion in 1996 after an exam revealed that the brain of the fetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides. She also describes ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.
Davis disclosed the terminated pregnancies for the first time since her 13-hour filibuster — a parliamentary maneuver that required her to talk non-stop to try to run out the time on proposed legislation — last year over a tough new Texas abortion law.
Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls.
She writes that the ectopic pregnancy happened in 1994 during her first trimester. Terminating the pregnancy was considered medically necessary. Such pregnancies generally aren’t considered viable, meaning the fetus can’t survive, and the mother’s life could be in danger. But Davis wrote that in Texas, it’s “technically considered an abortion, and doctors have to report it as such.”
Davis said she and her former husband, Jeff, wound up expecting another child in 1996. After a later exam revealed the brain defect, Doctors told her the baby would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery.
“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.”
Davis is now running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is a heavy favorite to replace Republican Gov. Rick Perry next year.