Meet the Press   |  June 30, 2013

3: Davis discusses Texas abortion battle

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis discusses her battle against a Texas state bill that would leave Texas with only five legal clinics, and a Meet the Press roundtable weighs in on the federal implications of the abortion fight.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> abortion rights a big issue around the country as states debate this, debate gay marriage . state senator wendy davis joins me from texas . she made a big splash this week taking on a bill that would restrict abortion rights in the texas legislature , taking on governor perry as well. senator davis, welcome to "meet the press."

>> thank you. good morning, david .

>> for all that you have achieved in terms of your profile and your views, are you not just delaying the inevitable? governor perry has another special session that is scheduled this bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks likely to become law.

>> well, i don't think it's ever acceptable to concede the argument on incredibly important issues like this. and what we saw in the capitol last week, really, was people who have grown weary of our politicians trying to boost their own political careers on the backs of women by bull bying them and others, honestly, in order to promote agendas that help them personally. these are matters of personal liberty . in texas , we hold very dear to intrusions against our personal liberty . we fight very hard against that. and we will fight as we begin the session again on monday. i don't --

>> go ahead. finish your thought. i'm sorry.

>> i was just going to say, i don't think that we'll concede that the battle is over. and even if the this bill passes, obviously there will be challenges to it going forward.

>> the issue at hand, banning abortions after 20 weeks, is actually not as divisive, frankly, as other parts of the abortion debate . you look at some recent polling which i can put up on the screen, indicating even among women there's 50% support far 20-week abortion ban. does that concern you that you're fighting on a particular battleground that, you know, is pretty evenly viewed?

>> this is an omnibus bill , david , that includes four different provisions, one of which would leave texas with only five clinics in a state as large as we are, one of which would dramatically decrease the number of doctors who are able to function in this arena. and with that, the turning back of the clock and putting texas in a place where women 's health care , their ability to seek good health care for their reproductive decisionmaking would be seriously foreclosed. and the experts in this arena, the american college of on stet tri obstetrics and gynecology is warning us, if you do this in texas , you are putting women 's health care in a dangerous place.

>> do you think a 20-week ban on abortion is acceptable, reasonable?

>> right now that ban of course is being talked about because of the idea of fetal pain and that the constitutional level, what we of course have assured is that women have the ability to make these reproductive decisions up to the point of viability. that has to remain the key question here. and of course when we're talking about that particular issue, there are very, very few. it's used more as an emotional trigger point as part of the argument. but remember, it's a huge omnibus bill that involves many, many other aspects to it that are setting texas back.

>> let me get reaction to you from governor perry 's comments about you personally, which a lot of people reacted to. we'll put it on the screen.

>> she's the daughter of a single woman . she was a teenage mother herself. she managed to eventually graduate from harvard law school and serve in the texas senate . 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.

>> you don't accept the notion that while he was certainly dils agreeing with you he was holdin up your life story in a way to co compliment you.

>> david , my life story is something that obviously belongs to me very personally. and the fact of the matter is that i had choices and chances and opportunities that were provided to me based on the way i was able to direct my own decisionmaking. and what i'm working to fight for is to make sure that all women have are the ability to do that. i think some of the comments that he made really demeaned the high office that he holds, and i think that's why we saw such a strong reaction to it.

>> senator davis, thank you very much for your time this morning. i appreciate it. back to our roundtable. just a couple minutes left. pete williams , one of the things we talked about this week is whether this momentum to ban abortion after 20 weeks, narrow abortion rights , is ultimately going to become a federal issue.

>> i think there's a strong chance the court will hear an abortion case next term. there's one from oklahoma pending. they've shown interest in it. i would not be surprised if it comes back.

>> jim demint , you your reaction to what's played out in texas and state senator davis ' comments.

>> cases like the philadelphia abortionist that shows the horrendous conditions in these clinics that have actually killed women -- i mean, if we're talking about women 's health, we need to consider that. but now two-thirds of americans believe that after a baby's heart is beating and they can feel pain that they need some protection. so i'm glad to see a lot of states like texas and arkansas begin to consider this. and the more the ultrasounds have become part of the law where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there's a real child, it's beginning to change minds. and i think that's a good thing. it's time that the 3,000 babies we lose every day have some people speaking um for them.

>> women don't get the opportunity with ultrasound bills. they're mandated by the state. if a woman does not want an ultrasound or her doctor doesn't want her to have one, if it's not medically indicated, the state government is stepping in and saying you must have this ultrasound by order of the state government . because of the timing on a lot of these, and what is being mandated is a vaginal ultrasound, so it's an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government . and that is all right with you. i understand that. you feel that you've got interest strong enough to override a woman's desire to not have that happen to you that you can insist that it does as a legislator. but most american women i think are going to balk at that. if you want to make it a federal issue, i'd say the democrats will be delighted to have that fight. but as republicans push this further and further and further, it's the wendy davis of the world that are going to make you make the argument.

>> she's forgetting about the thousands of women who want an nched choice, who want the opportunity to get a free ultrasound, which they can get not from planned parenthood but from a lot of these pregnancy centers.

>> it's not free.

>> it is in many cases.

>> it would not be --

>> just a second.

>> women 's right to know laws are supported by the overwhelm mag joe torre not just of men but of women and 70% of the american people fav bans on abortion after the 20th week, late-term abortion.

>> do you think they should have an ultrasound if they don't want one?

>> it should be litigated. i think it's a matter of provincial judgment by the state.

>> got to get a break in here