Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, is releasing a memoir Tuesday that’s already making headlines. In it, the mother of two reveals she twice terminated pregnancies because of health issues.
At a get-out-the vote rally Sunday, Davis skipped over the abortion revelation that exploded on social media Friday night.
She told a packed room of campaign volunteers that her 370-page book, “Forgetting to Be Afraid,” is a personal memoir not a political one.
She alluded to the difficulties she details in the book: growing up in poverty; family turmoil; being a single, teenage mom.
“I am proud of my entire life’s journey and I am proud to share it with Texans, because I trust Texans to understand and see in my story someone who will fight for them, someone who is strong,” she told a crowd of about 120 volunteering with the Texas Organizing Project.
The senator who rocketed to fame for filibustering a bill that restricted abortion saved her first public comments about her own abortion for an exclusive ABC News interview.
In an excerpt released to the media, Davis, a mother of two, tells “Good Morning America” interviewer Robin Roberts that in 1996, she and her former husband Jeff Davis made a “difficult decision.” They terminated the pregnancy of their unborn daughter who would have been born blind and deaf, and wasn’t expected to survive.
“Our baby had a severe brain abnormality," Davis told ABC. "If she did survive to term she would not likely survive delivery. And if she did survive delivery she likely would be in a vegetative state. We knew the most loving thing we could do for our daughter was to say goodbye. Her name was Tate Elise Davis."
Davis’ book says an “indescribable blackness” and grief followed the decision.
She writes that two years earlier she had terminated an ectopic pregnancy when the egg implanted in her fallopian tube where the baby couldn’t survive and her health was at risk.
Davis’ book says she became emotional remembering her own terminated pregnancies during the June 2013 abortion filibuster, but she decided that wasn’t the time to talk about them.
She didn’t talk about them a month later, either, during an interview with KERA:
Shelley Kofler/KERA: “Did you ever personally consider an abortion? Would it ever have been something you as a young woman would have thought about?”
Sen. Wendy Davis: “That is obviously a very deeply personal question. When I was 18 and expecting, I made a decision to have a beautiful child who I’m very proud to have raised.”
Davis’ Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, who is staunchly anti-abortion, responded to her disclosure by saying: “As a father, I grieve for the Davis family and for the loss of life."
Davis’s life story has always been a key part of her campaign and has sometimes overshadowed other issues. For now, as she begins the book tour, her personal journey has once again taken center stage.
Davis’ first book signing is Monday night in Fort Worth. Her book goes on sale Tuesday. She'll sign books at appearances this week in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Watch an excerpt of the ABC interview here: