Mon, Sep 08, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Texas’ Wendy Davis talks of her abortions in book

AP, AUSTIN, Texas

Texas’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate, State Senator Wendy Davis, who became a national political sensation by delaying her state’s tough new restrictions on abortion, discloses in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion in the 1990s after discovering that the fetus had a severe brain abnormality.

In Forgetting to be Afraid, Davis also writes about ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus. Davis says she considered revealing the terminated pregnancies during her nearly 13-hour speech — as part of a parliamentary maneuver — on the floor of the Texas Senate last summer, but decided against it, saying “such an unexpected and dramatically personal confession would overshadow the events of the day.”

Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls. Davis catapulted to national Democratic stardom after her filibuster temporarily delayed passing of sweeping new abortion restrictions. She is now running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is heavily favored to replace Texas Governor Rick Perry next year.

The second pregnancy happened in 1996. Davis writes that during her second trimester she took a blood test that could determine chromosomal or neural defects, which doctors first told her did not warrant concern. However, a later exam revealed that the brain of the fetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides, Davis says.

Doctors told her the baby would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery, she writes.

“I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”

She goes on to say that an “indescribable blackness followed” the pregnancy and that the loss left her forever changed.

The ectopic pregnancy happened in 1994 and terminating it was considered medically necessary, Davis writes. Such pregnancies generally are not considered viable, meaning the fetus cannot survive, and they can endanger the mother’s life.

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