June 28th, 2013
10:33 AM ET
10 years ago

Davis shrugs off Perry's scolding

(CNN) – The deeply personal criticism that Texas Gov. Rick Perry leveled at state Sen. Wendy Davis Thursday diminished the position he holds, she said in an interview Friday.

Speaking at a national "Right to Life" conference in Dallas, Perry took aim at Davis' own background, claiming she had learned the wrong lessons from being born to a single mother and having her first daughter as a teenager.

"The fact is, who are we to say that children born into the worst of circumstances can't grow to live successful lives?" Perry said, noting Davis had gone on to graduate from college and Harvard Law.

"It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters," the Republican governor said.

Speaking Friday on MSNBC, Democrat Davis said the decisions she's made in life don't qualify her to dictate how another woman should live.

"I would say to him that I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life, and I am so proud of my daughters, but I could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice, and it really isn't for him to make statements like that," Davis said.

The state lawmaker, who represents a district in the Fort Worth area, became a hero to abortion rights supporters this week after staging a 13-hour filibuster of proposed legislation that would place new restrictions on abortions in Texas. The law would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and place new regulations on abortion providers.

The measure, declared dead after Davis' marathon filibuster, will be reconsidered during a special session of the state legislature convened by Perry next week.

Filed under: Abortion • Rick Perry • Wendy Davis
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    Roe, as in most cases dealing with competing Constitutional Rights, is a balancing act. A WOMAN bears ALL of the risks in childbearing & usually about 90% of the load after the birth. SHE has the paramount skin in the game until during First Trimester. After that, public morality kicks in & restrictions are placed on the continued pregnancy.

    June 28, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. pwmcgill

    The Governor of Texas and his ilk will continue to be why the GOP will not win another presidential campaign anytime soon! The GOP needs to dispense with its anti-science, bigoted and religious self-righteous platform and seek out intelligent, well-educated and informed politicians. Now that I think about it, perhaps that statement is oxymoronic and impossible considering the GOP we have today!

    June 28, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota


    Given Perry's somewhat less than stellar intellect, I think the whole world should ignore everything he says.

    Oh, Jim. We do. It's just that for whatever reason, CNN chooses to bring him (and his absurd comments) up front and personal to the world at large. For the life of me, I have a hard time understanding why CNN stubborningly chooses this route, but, hey, who am I to argue with the media powers that be. Rick Perry amuses, and, at the same time, brings attention to what GOPerville would really rather stay hidden. I would like to think CNN is fully aware of the double standard they promote ... but ... (and yes, I chose to end my sentence with ... but ...)

    June 28, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. M.A.P.

    What a discusting thing for Perry to say. His personal attacks will just rile up the non neo-cons against him even more. Another shameful statement from the party that should be ASHAMED of its actions. Haven't those extremists in the GOP learnt yet? Don't F with a woman's right to choose. Its a fight you will LOSE!

    June 28, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Steveo

    @sonny chapman

    Steveo, an important part of my Catholic upbringing which has still stuck w/me is the concept of Free Will & Conscience. This allows one to question Faith Beliefs as well as laws imposed on us as humans.
    Same here Sonny. Some folk like to blame God for our evils and wonder why He does not stop it. Free Will is the answer to that question. He gave us the ability to choose and it has been that way since the Garden of Eden. I look at it this way, My children love me because they wants to they want to, not because they have to. This is especially true when they mature! It is the same with God, He wants us to love Him because we want to, not becuase we have to! He did not create us to be robots.

    June 28, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. us_1776

    Excellent rebuttal, Wendy.

    Perry just doesn't get the idea that it's a woman's choice.


    June 28, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Larry in Houston

    """"It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters," the Republican governor said"""

    Answer : It's Unfortunate we have a pos as a governor – here in tx. To be perfectly honest, If I was raising a family, and trying to educate my kids, I sure as heck wouldn't do it in the state of TX – that's what Perry wants – he wants people that have kids in school, to be dropouts, and / or be dumber than a sled track – I would raise & educate My kids either in the Northeast – OR the North west – where the smartest people are, or shall I say the most educated people are.

    BUT – I will have to Thank Ms. Davis – for trying – but with the republican led legislature, and all the republican money in this state, it's a wonder any democrat has a snowballs' chance of anything.

    June 28, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Dallas

    Governor Perry needs to be defeated in next year's election or better yet resign right now. He is a disgrace to our state and to our country for his ill advised, inane, and bigoted comments. 1`

    June 28, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. sonkarlay

    we all know he is unprofessional, republican bills are abortion bills all over the state they govern, they want to cut food stamps, health cares, rise students loans, cut teacher, for those kids living so tell me what sense it makes

    June 28, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Wendy Davis for Governor of Texas in 2014

    It won't be an easy accomplishment, but Wendy Davis is capable of taking Rick Perry's job from him next year...

    Ms Davis, please join the race! You will have a small army of Texas moderates & independents hitting the campaign trail as hard as we can for you all across the loan star state... We will march into the sparsely populated countryside to ensure all of the undereducated texans who have historically voted republican, only because they have been fooled into believing it to be the "righteous" thing to do, understand exactly how their current governor's economic policies have made them some of the poorest people in this nation!! Rick Perry's shameless exploitation of the Christian religion to manipulate and control the masses of very good hearted but horribly uneducated/under-privileged Texans CAN BE STOPPED!!!! You are the superhero who can help accomplish this ma'am so let's start getting your campaign for next year organized now...

    June 28, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Judas Priest

    There's a reason why many Texans pronounce the governor's first name with a leading 'P'. It's a perfect description.

    June 28, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Data Driven


    "persona non grata"

    So Wendy Davis shouldn't even exist? She's on heroin, too? Some other genius yesterday wanted all gays to be dead.

    You conservatives are really unhinged. Maybe you should take a break from politics for awhile.

    June 28, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Malory Archer


    "The law would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and place new regulations on abortion providers."
    I understand the entire right to choose thing, but, any woman who decided after five months to kill her baby is a monster.


    Yeah, except that the vast majority of abortions performed after 20 weeks are due to serious medical problems with either the mother or the fetus, and those fetus issues are most times discovered during an ultrasound performed during the second & third trimesters as they aren't detectable in the first trimester. Anyone who would force a woman to carry a non-viable fetus to term only to watch it die is the REAL monster.

    June 28, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. AZ Girl

    So, if "you" take away my right to choose, as provided to me under the Constitution and upheld for decades now by the Supremes, does that mean I can take away your guns? THAT my friends is the infamous "slippery slope".

    June 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. MikeyZ

    I have a feeling that Wendy Davis is about to school Rick Perry on Texas politics, Ann Richards style.

    June 28, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. BillInLA

    Dear Rickhead Perry, King of the Clueless:
    They already tallied the votes on you and your ideas last election.

    June 28, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    AZ Girl, that's where the word BALANCE comes in. The Constitutional Rights under the 2nd Amendment don't stand alone. They must be balanced against the Constitutional Rights of non-gun owners to TRY to pursue life & liberty free from TOO MANY of the WRONG GUNS in the hands of TOO MANY FOLKS who shouldn't have easy access to them.

    June 28, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Larry in Houston

    I have to give credit, where credit is due – but wendy isn't able to "muster" the enough help throughout the state of texas, to do what she believes in, or what she wants to do – especially when practically when 95% of the people in the whole capitol building, is right wing republican ! then add to the fact that practically all of the Mexicans that work for their employer ( that are also staunch republicans) typically votes the same way that their employer does.( If they don't they will B without a Job)

    June 28, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. 1twinsfan

    I can hear Sinclair Lewis saying he warned us. Perry, why don't you just figure what that third thing was and then get back to us.

    June 28, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Phattee

    Sen. Davis was arbitrarily forced to stand with no breaks, no food, no water. The GOP is pro-gun, pro-war, pro-torture, and pro-letting the uninsured die.

    When did the Republican party become the repulsive collection of sadists that it is today?

    June 28, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Larry in Houston

    Ann Richards & LBJ are probably rolling in their graves. pitiful perry – not to mention pathetic – when I last googled ann Richards, after reading about that woman, I practically had goose pimples – I mean, that Gal had some kahunas !!
    prob will never be another one like her again. too bad

    June 28, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Ron L

    Rick Perry is proof you don't have to be very intelligent to be the Governor of Texas. Frankly I feel sorry for the lower middle class and poor people in Texas. They have a Governor so full of himself that he doesn't even care how his state has the most citizens without healthcare, or that many of the students in the state are borderline illiterate. All he cares about is attempting to attract the wealthy owners of businesses in other states to Texas where there are NO STATE INCOME TAXES and FEW REGULATIONS. The perfect environment for persons not struggling to survive but HELL on Earth for the less fortunate.

    June 28, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein

    Perry doesn't know the full facts about Davis' situation. Did she have help along the way? Was she fully supported by family and friends? If she was, then that adds to what she was able to do. Many women who become pregnant don't often have the support systems to carry the child to term and raise the child as well. Davis may also be a woman of extraordinary ability to get things done.

    June 28, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    Perry and others of his ilk just need to keep treating women as though they are chattel and how they must keep carrying and raising children that have special needs or will die slow agonizing deaths due to diseases discovered in utero.

    And since the GOP wants to cut help to all "welfare queens and their litters" and "anchor babies", they are showing their true "chri$tian" values.

    Keep that up, and the GOP will need an "outreach program" for anyone with a uterus.

    June 28, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Christian Grey

    Perry is not completely wrong here, I see a lot of your responses vilifying him as someone that is taking a woman’s right to choose to give life or take it away. Yes she is choosing to take life away, I ask what part of that statement do you disagree with. Please think really hard before you answer this at what point is that a human. To me it’s easy only life can divide and replicate its cells I have never seen a rock do it yet. The couple have already made one mistake by getting the woman pregnant why make another and take that life away from the child.

    June 28, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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