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The Worshipful Coverage of Wendy

Aug 19, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 46 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Ever since state senator Wendy Davis’s unsuccessful filibuster of new late-term abortion regulations in Texas, the media have been, even by their own embarrassing standards, astonishingly obsequious towards her. The Associated Press actually tweeted out a link to their coverage of the story with the hashtag #standwithwendy. When Davis went on ABC’s This Week, reporter Jeff Zeleny asked her three questions about her now-famous pink running shoes, three questions about using a catheter during her filibuster, and exactly zero substantive questions about abortion or Texas’s new law. And the coverage in the New York Times was, well, New York Times coverage, with breathless encomiums to Davis’s “feat of stamina and conviction.”

The Worshipful Coverage of Wendy

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Not surprisingly, the media are too busy discussing how fabulous Davis is to note that most Americans regard what she stands for as barbaric. The Texas legislation she opposed primarily did two things. One, it banned abortions after 20 weeks. Two, it classified abortion clinics as “ambulatory surgical centers.” Basically, abortion clinics will now have to meet the same health and safety standards as nearly every other medical facility that does outpatient surgery. 

On the first point, banning late-term abortion is hardly draconian. In Sweden, which isn’t exactly run by Bible-thumpers, abortion is banned at 18 weeks. In fact, excepting the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, nearly every country in Europe has stricter gestational limits on abortion than Texas. And late-term abortion is widely opposed by the vast majority of Americans. 

“One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion,” notes the polling company. Texans supported the state’s new limit by a whopping 32-point margin, according to a Texas Tribune poll. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 60 percent of women supported the 20-week limit on abortions, and three other recent polls show women more supportive of Texas’s restrictions than men. It would seem, then, that in the War on Women, Wendy Davis is an army of one. 

As for Texas’s requiring higher safety standards for abortion clinics, several women have died at abortion clinics in recent years. Most notably, Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s clinic of horrors was exposed because he killed a patient, and his murder trial highlighted a dramatic lack of oversight at abortion clinics. Why is Wendy Davis opposed to patient safety? 

It’s not hard to think of tough questions to ask Davis, though it took The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack to finally ask her one. After her appearance at the National Press Club last week, he asked Davis the following: “The supporters [of late-term bans like Texas’s] argue that there really isn’t much of a difference between what happened in that Philadelphia case with abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell [killing born-alive infants] 23 weeks into pregnancy and legal late-term abortions at 23 weeks. What is the difference between those two, between legal abortion at 23 weeks and what Gosnell did? Do you see a distinction?”

Davis’s response? “I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case. But I do know that it happened in an ambulatory surgical center. And in Texas changing our clinics to that standard obviously isn’t going to make a difference.” Davis’s claim
to have no knowledge of the much-discussed and searing Gosnell case—a major impetus for the Texas law she’s famous for opposing—is not remotely credible. And the assertion that Gosnell’s hellhole of a clinic was an ambulatory surgical center is bizarre and factually incorrect. 

We now know why Wendy Davis doesn’t get asked tough questions. The moment she has to answer them, a media darling is exposed as just another empty pair of sneakers.

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