Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis presents her new education policy during a stop at Palo Alto College in San Antonio Aug. 24. (Eric Gay/AP)

Wendy Davis, in her bid to become Texas governor, has tried to move beyond the abortion debate, the very issue that helped make her a progressive star and earned her the nickname “abortion Barbie” in conservative circles. So much so that Davis has even been accused of flip-flopping on the 20-week abortion ban, which was the subject of part of her 2013 filibuster.

Davis supports abortion rights, but has said she is opposed to late-term abortions, except in the case of rape, incest and when the life and health of the mother is at stake. Although she filibustered a bill containing abortion restrictions, including a 20-week ban, she has also said that she could support such a prohibition, if deference is ultimately given to the woman and her doctor.

Politically, this shift away from the battle over abortion has been a necessity for Davis, running in the deep-red Lone Star state, which hasn’t had a Democratic governor in nearly two decades. But her revelations that she terminated two pregnancies probably will change that dynamic, putting the focus back on an issue that few Democratic women running in Southern states are openly campaigning on in 2014. Davis, currently a state senator, now joins a short list of female candidates who have acknowledged having an abortion. Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, a Democrat who is running for lieutenant governor, acknowledged in 2013 that when she was 16, she had an abortion.

The revelations in her memoir “Forgetting to be Afraid” come three months before Election Day in a race that has always been a long shot for Davis. Despite efforts to broaden the electorate to non-registered and infrequent midterm voters, particularly Latinos, the math doesn’t add up for Davis — or any Texas Democrat, for that matter. That reality has been reflected in polls taken over the past several months that show Davis down by double digits to Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who also has a commanding lead in fundraising.

Davis has wrapped her candidacy in her personal story, a move that hit a huge snag at the beginning of the year, when more complicated details about her trailer-park-to-Harvard Law School story emerged. Davis lived in a trailer only for a short time, and later, her husband Jeff, a lawyer, helped pay for her college and law school education and raised her two daughters in Texas while she was at Harvard. Since then she has focused on education, hiking the minimum wage and equal-pay legislation, issues that her campaign believes will resonate with a broad swath of voters, particularly blue-collar women.

In her first campaign ad, gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Tex.) attacks her opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-Tex.) for his decision to side with a corporation and not the victim in a rape dispute. (YouTube/Wendy Davis)

Her supporters do not think the abortion revelations will harm her politically.

“We know that when people understand exactly why women make this decision, they’re incredibly sympathetic. It’s tough to tell someone they should share a story so personal, but clearly it’s a powerful reminder of what’s at stake if we take away the right to make that choice,” said Jess McIntosh, communications director for EMILY’s List. “Wendy Davis has always been brave — it’s one of the reasons Texas women are so excited to have her as their champion.”

A June poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune showed that 57 percent of Texans believe that a pregnant woman should be able to get a legal abortion if “there is a strong chance of a serious defect in the baby.” The poll also shows Davis trailing Abbott among women by 10 points. Among suburban women the gap is 13 points.

In this cycle, at least for Democrats running in red states, there has been something of a quiet truce on abortion, one that Davis has in many ways disrupted. It is not that these Democrats have changed their positions; rather, by and large, competitive female candidates are simply not talking openly about abortion rights.

Democratic Senate candidates such as Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) instead are talking about “women’s health,” which has become a benign catchall for access to abortion and contraception. And the Southern version of the “war on women” has become much more about economic issues than abortion.

Outside conservative groups, like the Susan B. Anthony List, which aims to elect anti-abortion candidates, however, have kept the heat on Democrats, as have Republican candidates.

Melissa Conway of Texas Right to Life, said “life-affirming options, such as perinatal hospice care,” should be championed more broadly.

Election Lab: See our current forecast for every congressional race in 2014

“When a mother faces a traumatic medical diagnosis for her unborn child, so many emotions surface, including worry and confusion over how to properly care for the child through the remainder of pregnancy,” Conway said in a statement. “Texas Right to Life encourages a woman facing a difficult or unexpected diagnoses to carry her baby to term, to celebrate the precious baby’s Life, and – if needed — provide care and treatment for the child until he or she dies naturally.”

Davis’s revelations are unlikely to change the fundamental dynamics of the race — people who support her will continue to and those who do not will not change their minds. But her revelations represent a notable break in how progressive female candidates have talked about abortion.

Conservative female candidates, like former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, have actively talked about their choice not to have abortions. Pro-choice Democratic female candidates have rarely talked about making a different decision.

But Davis, along with Flores, has now opened up the discussion for a more nuanced debate about an issue that remains politically charged.