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Wendy Davis says she could support 20-week abortion ban

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis speaks at an education roundtable meeting in Arlington, Tex., Jan. 14. (LM Otero/AP)

Wendy Davis, whose filibuster against new abortion restrictions in Texas made her a liberal hero and led her to run for governor this year, says in a new interview that she could, in fact, support a law that bans abortion after 20 weeks.

The Democratic state senator said she opposed Texas's 20-week abortion ban, which was included in the package she filibustered (but later passed), because it didn't go far enough in protecting women.

Here's the report from the Dallas Morning News:

“I would line up with most people in Texas who would prefer that that’s not something that happens outside of those two arenas,” Davis said.

But the Democrat said the state’s new abortion law didn’t give priority to women in those circumstances. The law allows for exceptions for fetal abnormalities and a threat to the woman’s life, but Davis said those didn’t go far enough.

“My concern, even in the way the 20-week ban was written in this particular bill, was that it didn’t give enough deference between a woman and her doctor making this difficult decision, and instead tried to legislatively define what it was,” Davis said.


Davis said she could have supported a bill that contained only a 20-week ban, but the law’s restrictions on clinics and doctors have greatly curtailed access to the procedure in parts of Texas.

“It was the least objectionable,” she said. “I would have and could have voted to allow that to go through, if I felt like we had tightly defined the ability for a woman and a doctor to be making this decision together and not have the Legislature get too deep in the weeds of how we would describe when that was appropriate.”

Davis's campaign has previously clarified that she opposes late-term abortions with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, after Republicans accused her of opposing any abortion restrictions.

Polls show a strong majority of Americans support prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, and support is likely even higher in conservative Texas. Abortions generally aren't permitted after 24 weeks currently.

Davis is a significant underdog this year against state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R).

Updated at 12:08 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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