Texas state senator Wendy Davis has been on a whirlwind media tour since her filibuster (and a screaming mob) blocked a vote on a bill that would ban most abortions during the final four months of pregnancy and improve safety standards at abortion facilities.
Davis has been asked many questions--about her shoes, what it was like to stand and talk for so long, and whether she's offended by Gov. Rick Perry. But you'll have to search very hard to find a tough question challenging Davis to defend her opposition to bill. Just take a look at the 20 questions Davis had to answer during four interviews with well-respected, mainstream journalists at CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Here are the six (closely paraphrased) questions CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Davis last week:
1. How are you even awake today?
2. What was it like standing for that long?
3. It was a remarkable scene. Did you have any idea that it would grow like this?
4. What did this filibuster accomplish if Governor Perry can bring it up in another special session?
5. Was the time stamp on the vote intentionally falsified in an attempt to pass the bill?
6. Will you filibuster again?
Here are the six questions ABC's Jeff Zeleny asked Davis on This Week:
7. Why did you decide to wear your running shoes? Let’s take a look at those … they’ve kind of been rocketing around the Internet.
8. As the filibuster was going on, you were receiving support from a lot of people and places far away from Texas, from movie stars and the president …
9. The front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is featuring the back and forth with Governor Perry and you. He has made this very personal against you. Is that offensive?
10. Do you believe SB5 will become law?
11. Will you have to filibuster again?
12. You gonna put these shoes on again?
Here are the four questions CBS's Bob Schieffer asked Davis on Face the Nation:
13. What went through your mind when you heard the governor? Because, basically, what he was saying was what would have happened if-- if your mother had had an abortion?
14. Well, after coming under these attacks, do you regret taking the front row that you did on this and leading this charge?
15. Do you think you can actually stop this from happening because, as you well know, the governor has called another special session of the legislature which starts tomorrow?
16. There is a poll out down there by the Texas Tribune that says sixty percent of Texans support banning abortions after twenty weeks, which is one of the things that this bill would do. It also closes down a lot of places where women can now get abortions. Do you feel that being the case isn't that going to make it even more difficult for you?
And here are the four questions NBC's David Gregory asked Davis on Meet the Press:
17. For all that you have achieved in terms of your profile and your views, are you not just delaying the inevitable?
18. The issue at hand, banning abortions after 20 weeks, is actually not as divisive, frankly, as other parts of the abortion debate. You look at some recent polling, which I can put up on the screen indicating even among women there's 50% support for a 20-week abortion ban. Does that concern you, that you're fighting on a particular battleground that, you know, is pretty evenly viewed?
19. Senator, do you think a 20-week ban on abortion is acceptable? Do you think it's reasonable?
20. You don't accept the notion that, while he was certainly disagreeing with you, he was holding up your life story in a way to compliment you?
Out of these 20 questions, Davis wasn't asked once to explain the difference between infanticide and late-term abortions.
Precisely one question (credit to David Gregory) dealt with the substance of the bill. Gregory prodded Davis to explain why the 20-week ban isn't "reasonable" and "acceptable," but he didn't follow up when Davis's answer made no sense.
Davis replied that there is a constitutional right to "these reproductive decisions up to the point of viability." But medical advancements have moved the point of "viability" up to 20 weeks after conception, the point at which the Texas bill would protect life. As Dr. Colleen Malloy of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine testified before Congress in 2012, "I'm here because it's easy for me to imagine these babies at 20 to 24 weeks post-fertilization age because they are my patients in the NICU."
So after all of these interviews, Davis hasn't given a clear reason why she opposes a bill protecting the lives of babies old enough to be preemies cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit.
What legal limits, if any, does Davis support? Should elective, post-viability abortions be legal? (Yes, they do happen.) Why shouldn't Texas establish regulations similar to the regulations Pennsylvania established in the wake of Kermit Gosnell in order to protect women from being killed by abortionists? Why shouldn't a billion-dollar non-profit like Planned Parenthood be able to afford improvements to safety standards?
These are all simple, obvious questions that Davis hasn't been asked during her whirlwind media tour. One pathetic softball interview might be written off as an outlier, but when CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS more or less play the same game, one can't help but notice a pattern.