Monday, September 08, 2014

Did Wendy Davis' Abortion Revelations Jump the Shark?

Monday marked the full court press of a media campaign for Wendy Davis, the Democrat nominee running for Governor of the State of Texas. I happened to watch a fluff interview of her on Good Morning America. Pink sneakers! Raised by a single mom! Mom suffered from depression! She herself a single mom! Davis has written a book and quite deftly released it just less than two months before election day. The headline grabbing portion of this book is that Davis writes of two different abortions she had in the 1990's. Her campaign, after all, was launched due to her nationally noticed filibuster during the last session of the Texas legislature.  She gained national exposure as a Texas State Senator for her objection to the legislation before that body setting new demands on abortion clinics in Texas.  Democrats claimed these restrictions would cause women to be unable to obtain an abortion while Republicans insisted that these restrictions would bring accountability and safety measures for the sake of the women and their unborn babies.

She must have been saving her own abortion stories for the book because she didn't mention it as the primary reason she was vaulting herself unto the national political stage. Never once did she mention her own personal experiences.

Here is the irony - by making her campaign largely dependent on her new celebrity as an advocate for unrestricted abortion law, she has to make herself a sympathetic figure to women and has chosen this path.  She probably didn't forecast that voters can now draw a parallel between her and that of former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his wife Karen and how each were treated by national media.  During the very same year, in 1996, as Wendy Davis and her husband were having to make a very personal and difficult decision about abortion, the same decision faced Rick and Karen Santorum.  Both women were told that the developing fetuses they carried would be born with severe physical disabilities.  In the case of the Santorums, they were told that their baby would certainly die at birth.

In Forgetting to Be Afraid, Davis describes how she learned in the second trimester that the fetus developing in her womb had a severe brain abnormality. The brain of the fetus had essentially divided—developing without connections between the right and left sides. Doctors told Davis and her former husband Jeff, already parents of two young girls, that if the child survived birth it would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state.

She went on to explain that she felt the baby wouldn't want to live with disabilities so she terminated the pregnancy.  She explained that the heart beat of the baby was "quieted" by drugs and she delivered via a Cesarean section.  She and her husband named the baby, took photos of the baby and introduced the baby to her two living daughters.  She said she had the baby baptized.

Let's think back to the 2012 Presidential Campaign of Rick Santorum.  The story was told of the tragic death of their newborn baby and the grief process the couple and their living children took to deal with that death.  At the time, the media took great sport in opining that the Santorums were some kind of kooks.  They were appalled that Rick and Karen took the baby home for the other children to see and understand the baby's death.  I will say that I was a bit taken aback by their actions, but who am I to say how a family should cope with such a tragedy?  Abiding by the candidate Santorum's fight against partial birth abortion, the birth of the baby without "quieting" the heart first seems reasonable.  

Karen Santorum was in the 19th week of pregnancy when a routine sonogram revealed that the child had a fatal defect and was going to die. Gabriel Michael Santorum, the unborn son of the Santorums, suffered from an obstruction of the urinary tract called posterior urethral valve syndrome. The Santorums consulted with specialists who offered several options—among them abortion.Rather than ending the life of their child, however, the Santorums elected to attempt a long-shot intrauterine surgery to correct the obstruction. Despite a high risk of infection through an incision in the womb, Karen underwent rare “bladder shunt” surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. The surgery did, in fact, lead to infection; and two days later, with a 105 degree fever, Karen was rushed to the high-risk pregnancy unit in Pittsburgh’s Magee-Women’s Hospital. Unless the source of the infection (the fetus) was removed from Karen’s body, they were told, she would likely die.Agonizing over the decision whether to hasten delivery for the developing but not-yet-viable child, thus saving Karen’s life, the Santorums had their answer when the antibiotics which fought Karen’s infection also caused her to go into labor. Doctors delivered tiny Gabriel Michael, and Rick Santorum baptized his newborn son. Rick and Karen held his tiny body in their arms, rocking him and singing to him, for two hours until he died. Then they did something rarely seen: They took his small body home so that their two older children could see their brother, could hold him and pray for God to welcome him into his heavenly kingdom.

One of the abortions of Wendy Davis was due to an ectopic pregnancy. I find it a bit odd that she lumps that in with the other abortion.  Ectopic pregnancy is life threatening to the mother if the pregnancy does not end.  The mother will bleed to death.  She claims this is how the state of Texas labels ectopic pregnancies. I am not the only one to notice that bit of oddness:

So OB/GYNs don’t consider ectopic pregnancies abortions, but what about Texas?  (By the way, I take Ms. Davis to mean induced abortion when we writes about “abortion” and her ectopic pregnancy). While I don’t practice in Texas I was able to find that state’s reporting form for induced abortions and there is no mention of ectopic pregnancy. The way the form is written doesn’t lead me to believe it is meant to include ectopic pregnancies. If there is another form that I’ve missed, please leave a link below.

Was it another play for sympathy in her campaign? I have no way of knowing.  That OB-GYN, though not a Texas practitioner, was puzzled by her terminology.

So, this is where we are.  Abortion continues to be a political volleyball, used by both parties.  Some people are single issue voters.  All of this is one of the reasons we have such personal discord among ordinary people when it comes to voting and social issues. 

Wendy Davis, a Democrat woman running for Governor of the State of Texas, may have jumped the shark on this story.  She is down considerably with likely voters when put up against her Republican opponent. Real Clear Politics has her down 12+ points.  We will soon know if her polling numbers move or not. Republican candidate Greg Abbott issued the following statement:

"The unspeakable pain of losing a child is beyond tragic for any parent. As a father, I grieve for the Davis family and for the loss of life," Abbott said Saturday of the disclosure in her memoir, which also revisited her termination of an ectopic pregnancy, for which there was no other option.

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