Wendy Davis, who became a national figure fighting a law which would limit abortion to 20 weeks and impose additional regulations on abortion providers, said in an interview Wednesday “we all want it to be rare.”
During an interview with Jorge Ramos, Davis was asked when she believed life begins as a philosophical matter. She sidestepped the question, saying “the Supreme Court has answered this decision.” She went on to say that her concern was that women have abortion as a safe alternative, adding, “We all want it to be rare but most certainly I think that we should fight to continue to make sure that women are safe.”
The abortion regulation which Davis filibustered in the Texas Senate was, in part, aimed at tightening regulations on clinics to insure safety. It required abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, similar to other non-hospital settings which offer surgery. It also required that abortion clinics have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Davis and her supporters at Planned Parenthood and NARAL have long argued that regulations on abortion clinics–which they collectively refer to as TRAP laws–are unnecessarily burdensome. But several states passed new regulations on clinics after the Gosnell case in Philadelphia revealed a “house of horrors” had been allowed to persist for decades because state regulators felt abortion clinics should not be burdened with inspections. Indeed, NARAL was advocating for loosening of regulations in Pennsylvania at the time Gosnell’s clinic was discovered.
The grand jury report in the Gosnell case suggested that Karnamaya Mongar, one of Gosnell’s adult victims, might have had a “slim hope” of survival if the clinic had met the standards for an ambulatory surgical center. It’s worth noting that when asked about the case at the National Press Club, Wendy Davis incorrectly claimed that his facility had been an ambulatory surgical center when the deaths took place.
Wendy Davis is not the first pro-choice politician to dodge the question of when life begins or to suggest it should be rare. In 2008, candidate Obama was asked a similar question about when human rights begin and responded that the answer was above his paygrade. And both Bill and Hillary Clinton have said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”