EMILY SCHMALL, Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis said revealing in a memoir that she terminated a pregnancy in which the fetus had developed a severe brain abnormality was not meant to boost her campaign in its final stretch, but rather to help families facing a similar choice.
The 1996 abortion was “a deeply profound part of my personal story,” and reading about other families’ experiences at the time “helped tremendously,” Davis told The Associated Press on Monday during the first stop of her book tour.
Davis’ revelations in the memoir, “Forgetting to be Afraid,” could help or hinder a candidate who made her name nationally, as a state senator from Fort Worth, for a 13-hour filibuster over a tough new state abortion law. During the filibuster, she had described ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.
The bill required doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and mandated that clinics upgrade facilities to hospital-level operating standards. A federal judge in Austin last month blocked a portion of the law that would have left Texas with only seven abortion facilities statewide.
Davis’ Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, asked the Texas Ethics Commission Monday to decide on the legality of Davis’ book-promotion activities during the campaign. His request asks for “clarification regarding whether the book publisher’s promotional advertising activities constitute in-kind contributions,” according to a news release.
Davis supporters at a campaign rally in Dallas over the weekend applauded her for revealing the abortion.
“Having that kind of personal story around what is a divisive issue will help,” said 35-year-old campaign volunteer Abigail Self.
Davis’ ex-husband, Jeff Davis, said Monday the aborted fetus had been “gravely ill,” but declined to comment further.