Wendy Davis’ Family of Choice: Why Rick Perry Just Doesn’t Get It

On June 25th, Wendy Davis, Harvard law graduate and Democratic Texas state senator held a filibuster for a full 11 hours with no food, water, and without being allowed to sit, or even lean on anything for support. The filibuster stopped Senate Bill 5, a firm anti-abortion law, from being passed before the end of the legislative session.

The above retelling of the story omits the element that has made Davis a target for Rick Perry: she is a single mother. Perry used this fact to criticize her interest in defending abortion rights, claiming that Davis “hasn’t learned from her own example.”

Perry implies that Davis should have learned a pro-life lesson from the fact that while Davis’ own mother came from what Perry refers to as “difficult circumstances,” she decided not to have an abortion. The attitude displayed by Perry spreads a stereotype of single mothers that portrays them as ill equipped to care for their children. We at Unmarried Equality reject that notion. Guided by this stereotype, Perry seems to have forgotten the fact that both Wendy Davis and her mother were married at the time of the births of their children, and that both decidednot to remain married. In other words, Perry falsely assumed that since Davis and her mother are currently unmarried, they could not possibly have at one point planned to raise a child with a spouse then later pursue alternative measures to compose their families.

The way we choose to view the scenario, as Davis states, is that Perry’s comments “showed disregard for the fact that we each own our own personal history, we make choices and have the opportunity to take chances that present themselves to us.”

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