Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who is currently running to replace Rick Perry as the state’s next governor, spoke with Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts for an interview that aired on Monday, September 8. Davis appeared on ABC to hawk her memoir “Forgetting to Be Afraid” in which she revealed how she had two abortions in the mid-1990s.
Throughout the two segments, Roberts treated the Texas Democrat to a fawning interview in which she played up how Davis “isn’t shying away from tough issues, both personal and political” before asking “why are you sharing so much right now? So personal.”
The ABC host introduced the first portion of her interview with Davis by reminding her audience how “she’s revealing for the first time some very personal details of her life after making national headlines last year.”
Roberts went on to hype how Davis’ new book “has so many people talking”:
Now Wendy Davis, a mother of two is running for governor of Texas. And while the race is heating up, it's her new book, a memoir, titled “Forgetting to Be Afraid” that has so many people talking. In it Davis reveals for the very first time her decision to terminate two pregnancies in the 1990s. Davis described the first pregnancy which was in 1994.
Roberts continued her cheerleading by reminiscing how “she wore those pink running shoes for her 13-hour speech to stop a restrictive abortion bill in her home state.” During the second segment, Roberts once again played up “when people hear the name Wendy Davis, they think about you and your pink running shoes.”
In the interview, Roberts describes Davis’ life as a “journey” and that her memoir “reveals for the very first time that she made the decision to terminate two pregnancies in the 1990s. The first in 1994 after tests showed the fetus was developing outside the uterus, making it unviable.”
While Roberts briefly asked Davis if she was “trying to pull at the heart strings of the voters that you're trying to win votes with sympathy?” she buried the question within a series of personal anecdotes aimed at playing up the Democrat’s life:
A Harvard Law School graduate, Davis was raised by a single mother who left school after the ninth grade. Davis said her mother struggled. And in her memoir, she recounts one of the darkest days of her childhood.
Given that Davis trails her Republican opponent Greg Abbott by 12 points in the latest Real Clear Politics average, one wonders why ABC would give 7 minutes to a candidate who is unlikely to become the next governor of Texas instead of focusing on a more competitive midterm contest.
ABC has a long history of promoting Ms. Davis following her failed filibuster of new safety regulations in Texas’ abortion clinics. On July 1, 2013, Jeff Zeleny proclaimed “a week ago, no one knew State Senator Wendy Davis outside of Fort Worth. Now, you’ve become a national and international name.”
During an interview for the ABC News Power Players blog, Zeleny beamed at Davis’ pink sneakers and wondered “why did you decide to wear your running shoes? Let’s take a look at those, they’ve kind of been rocketing around the Internet.”
In contrast to the puff segments abortion activist Wendy Davis has received, ABC was quick to slam Richard Mourdock, 2012 Republican Senate Candidate in Indiana, for his comments on the subject of abortion.
Mourdock argued that life is a “gift from God” and that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.” In response to the Republican, World News anchor Diane Sawyer argued that “the Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women.” GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos warned that “Romney [is] catching some flak for his ties” to Mourdock.”
See relevant transcripts below.
ABC’s Good Morning America
September 8, 2014
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now we have an ABC News exclusive interview with Wendy Davis. She’s the Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Now she’s revealing for the first time some very personal details of her life after making national headlines last year. She wore those pink running shoes for her 13-hour speech to stop a restrictive abortion bill in her home state.
WENDY DAVIS: That moment is a culmination of my life story. I was shaped through a series of struggles. I was shaped through a series of tremendous triumphs that led me to believe in myself enough to stand there that day. By filibustering–
ROBERTS: Now Wendy Davis, a mother of two is running for governor of Texas. And while the race is heating up, it's her new book, a memoir, titled “Forgetting to Be Afraid” that has so many people talking. In it Davis reveals for the very first time her decision to terminate two pregnancies in the 1990s. Davis described the first pregnancy which was in 1994. You were in your first trimester.
DAVIS: The pregnancy had implanted itself in one of my fallopian tubes which is of course not a pregnancy that can be sustained. So we had to end that pregnancy through the removal of one of my fallopian tubes. It was a very, very sad time in our lives.
ROBERTS: And Texas law means that that has to be termed an abortion.
DAVIS: That’s how Texas law characterizes it. For me, it was a tremendous loss of a much-wanted pregnancy. I am ready–
ROBERTS: With the election less than two months away, Davis isn’t shying away from tough issues, both personal and political. Why are you sharing so much right now? So personal.
DAVIS: I wanted to share a book about my life. How I came to be who I am. I wanted people to feel like they’re not alone. That's one piece of my story. But there are many other pieces as well.
ROBERTS: And we'll share more of that later in the morning, where she discusses a second pregnancy that she terminated and also something that her mother contemplated doing to both herself and her children.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Wow a lot of news to come out right before an election
ROBERTS: Yes, the timing and we asked her about the timing of releasing a book like this so close to the election.
ROBIN ROBERTS: But right now, more of our exclusive interview with Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. She made national headlines, you know, last year by speaking for 13 consecutive hours in those pink running shoes to stop a vote restricting abortion. Now she’s running for governor of Texas. Right now she’s trailing Greg Abbott in the polls. She has a brand-new memoir. It is called “Forgetting to Be Afraid” in which she reveals some very painful details about her personal life. When people hear the name Wendy Davis, they think about you and your pink running shoes.
WENDY DAVIS: Members, I'm rising on the floor today --
ROBERTS: On the floor of the Texas Senate for hours.
DAVIS: For me it was very important to give voice to the women and men that I stood for that day. And of course, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my own journey.
ROBERTS: A journey Wendy Davis, a mother of two daughters, shares with the public in her new memoir “Forgetting to Be Afraid.” In it, Davis reveals for the very first time that she made the decision to terminate two pregnancies in the 1990s. The first in 1994 after tests showed the fetus was developing outside the uterus, making it unviable.
DAVIS: For me, it was a tremendous loss of a much-wanted pregnancy.
ROBERTS: Two years later, in 1996, Davis and her then-second husband, Jeff Davis, were pregnant again with a daughter they had already named. But during a routine exam, the doctor detected a problem.
DAVIS: Our baby had a severe brain abnormality. If she did survive to term, she likely would not survive delivery. And if she did survive delivery, she likely would be in a vegetative state. We knew that the most loving thing that we could do for our daughter was to say good-bye. And, like so many other families across this country, we made that difficult decision with as much love for our daughter as can be imagined. Her name was Tate Elyse [sic] Davis. And we loved her as we love our living daughters, Drew, and Amber. And she forms, of course, a very important part of my life.
ROBERTS: Can you understand that there will be some that will say, they would have taken a different route?
DAVIS: This was how my family confronted this tragic experience. I respect so much that people make their own decisions. And that that decision is the one that is right for them.
ROBERTS: A Harvard Law School graduate, Davis was raised by a single mother who left school after the ninth grade. Davis said her mother struggled. And in her memoir, she recounts one of the darkest days of her childhood.
DAVIS: My mother was in her 20s. She had three children, ages about 5 to 1. And she experienced tremendous depression after I was born. My parents separated not long after I was born and my father remarried. And my mother was left in a strange place, she was alone. She almost took her life and ours. She put us into the back of the car. She couldn’t imagine leaving the world and leaving us behind.
She had intended to start the car in the garage. And an angel came into our lives that day. A neighbor who had never come to our home before rang the bell. And he sat in the living room. He held my mother’s hand. He talked to her for quite a long time. And by the time he left, she was through it. And she came and collected us from the car. And put one foot in front of the other and, pushed on for all of us. And did a beautiful job of it.
ROBERTS: Davis credits her mother’s life experience for giving her strength to persevere when she faced her own challenges of being a single working mother. You know that there will be some criticism as to the timing. When the book comes out, it will be less than 60 days from the election. You’re running for governor and people are going to question the timing. Are you trying to pull at the heart strings of the voters that you're trying to win votes with sympathy?
DAVIS: I wanted to share a book about my life. How I came to be who I am. I wanted people to feel like they’re not alone. The struggle of being a single mom. The struggle after my parents divorced. And that I came through it. Through my faith in God. I came through it because of my education. And I wanted to be very honest in my story and not leave pieces aside. I wanted people to understand.
ROBERTS: And there is nothing left aside in “Forgetting to Be Afraid.” It's available tomorrow.