Who Speaks for Women? Lindsey Graham vs. Wendy Davis

Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (photo credit: Alan Kotok via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (photo credit: Alan Kotok via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Wendy Davis became a “progressive” television icon when she filibustered a Texas bill banning late-term abortions.  Sure she’s a feisty former single mom and made her way from welfare to Harvard, and she deserves props for that.

But in making the right to kill a child in the 6th month of pregnancy her signature issue in 2014, she put herself out of touch with the mainstream of American women, Latino voters, independents, and young people.  After all, despite exciting the media and donors, she lost her race for governor the following November by a crashing 20 points and lost even the majority of Texas women’s support.

But not in the alternative reality show that is MSNBC, of course.

This week, Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced legislation to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy (or almost five months into pregnancy).  He promised a vigorous debate about the morality of dismembering babies in the womb, babies that probably can feel pain, and are at the borderline of survival outside their mother’s bodies.

Politico regurgitated the sorry and debunked truce theory that “social issues” would bring down Republicans Senators in blue and purple states, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (which has just passed a state late-term abortion ban), Ohio, and New Hampshire.  These are all states (with the possible exception of New Hampshire) with an extremely rich and deep pro-life community.  But never mind, “Lindsey Graham’s abortion push could imperil fellow GOPers,” trumpets Politico, turning to Democrats mostly (and the ever reliable Susan Collins) to threaten Republicans with mass electoral slaughter if they did not back off the issue.  Such tactics have worked in the past to keep the Republicans from seizing the moral and political high ground, so why not try, try again?

And so there was Chris Hayes on MSNBC absurdly suggesting that a late-term abortion ban is going to turn off women voters, who are on average slightly more pro-life than male voters.  The lady who lost Texas obediently proclaimed from her alternate reality, “This is Senator Graham demonstrating the problem the GOP presidential candidates have with women.”

Kudos to Graham for recognizing that what women want is not more Gosnells on our conscience. A Quinnipiac poll shows that 60 percent of women prefer drawing the line at 20 weeks for abortions (or less), ten points more than men.  We who have carried life in our bodies know that denying the personhood of a baby old enough to kick you and hear you sing is hard to rationalize.

Lindsey, not Wendy, has our back on this one.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.