Wendy Davis, as Time magazine has said, is no Ann Richards. Well, duh. As surprising as this may be, it’s not the 90s anymore, either.
[My close personal Twitter friend George Takei tweeted this recently:
Seriously, what’s with the incessant comparisons of Davis to Ann Richards? [And they are incessant; try searching Ann Richards at the Huffington Post, for example, and you’ll get a buttload of Wendy Davis results.] Is it because they’re both Democrats? Maybe a little, but the vast majority of former Texas governors were Democrats, and you don’t see anyone comparing her to, like, Dolph Briscoe. Nah, it’s because women are a totally alien species, and can’t be compared to men, only to each other, vadge to vadge. Texas has had only two woman governors (out of a total of 47), and the first one, Ma Ferguson, is a largely forgotten snippet of Depression-era trivia. Therefore, modern Texans know only one sort of woman governor, and she’s a wisecracking charismatic grandma who doesn’t wear pink track shoes.You know, Wendy Davis may be no Ann Richards, but sometimes even Ann Richards was no Ann Richards. To wit: she was a fellow film buff, and an ERA supporter, and more or less a big ole feminist, but in 1993, Richards experienced a problematic brain fart and actually signed into law a bill that criminalized homosexuality. Noooooo!
There’s context, though. Richards had been vocal about getting rid of the sodomy law, but alas, was compelled by circumstance to sign the bill anyway. Yeah, she could have vetoed it, but doing so would merely have left the original sodomy law on the books, and would have lost ground in other areas into the bargain. Her modern detractors accuse her of having thrown gay rights under the bus because she was somehow cowardly. While no one would argue that it was her finest hour, I believe that otherwise her record vs. the good ole boys speaks for itself. She appointed openly gay people to her administration for crying out loud. As far as I know, no Texas governor has done that since.
This amorphous post, you will have cleverly perceived, has no point. Before I got sidetracked by a nostalgic Ann Richards reverie, I had originally intended to show that Davis is plenty Richardsesque e.g her gutsy stand against the restrictive abortion bill she filibustered, whereas Richards herself was not always as Richardsy as one might like in that she never officially lobbied for gay rights. I was going to call this post “A gal can have facets!” I was then going to segue into an examination of the language Davis employed in her recent, so-called “flip-flopping” 20-week abortion ban remarks, and use them as a springboard for a big old rant. Quoth Davis:
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. […] “It was the least objectionable…I would have and could have voted to allow that to go through, if I felt like we had tightly defined the ability for a woman and a doctor to be making this decision together and not have the Legislature get too deep in the weeds of how we would describe when that was appropriate. [Dallas Morning News]
I’ll spare you the usual long-winded gasbaggery. Here’s the gist, beginning with the language pro-choice folks always use when trying to mollify the hatas:
The decision should be between a woman and her doctor.
This dainty phrase makes the lobe throb. The infuriating implication, obviously, is that a pore dumb lady couldn’t possibly be trusted to decide all by herself whether her personal person should be used as a host for a parasitic growth. It infantilizes the woman and cedes her agency to a second party.
Look, a pregnant woman should be able to get a pregnancy terminated as she, and she alone, sees fit, without a state inspection of her motives, period. It isn’t too likely that hordes of lusty wantons are foaming at the mouth to line up at the clinic for a last-minute abortion because it’s their idea of a good old time, but even if it were, so the fuck what? It’s a woman’s personal uterus. Will she regret it later? Maybe yes and maybe no, but again, so the fuck what? It’s her personal uterus.
The “difficult decision”-making process should not have to involve some hired, second-party stranger. Neither should a woman’s interaction with the medical establishment have to be any more detailed than with any other contractor. “Here’s my insurance card. Kindly remove this growth at once, and don’t be stingy with the pain meds.”
Personal sovereignty is not a medical issue.
Vote for Davis anyway!