Wendy Davis’s Daughters Insist Their Mum Didn’t Abandon Them

The Texan politician who became famous for filibustering anti-abortion legislation has been attacked for focusing on her career not her kids


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Remember Wendy Davis? The American politican who put the word filibuster into our vocabulary with her epic 11-hour speech that was all about stalling anti-abortion laws? Well, now she's embroiled in another scandal - this time over the fact she once 'abandoned' her daughters to get her career moving.

Davis was just another Democrat senator when she started a speech at the Texas Senate Chamber in 2013. But after standing up and speaking for almost 11 hours, she had successfully stalled an anti-choice bill by not leaving anyone any time to vote on the bill.* She became known across the world for her strident defence of women's rights over their own bodies, and her commitment to the pro-choice cause, and is now campaigning to be governor of Texas.

Now that the spotlight’s on her policies, the interest in her private life is peaking. She told Maria Shriver of NBC's Today programme that she was a single mother in a trailer park aged 19 who put herself through college and Harvard Law School.

However, The Dallas Morning News soon reported some supposed inaccuracies in Wendy’s accounts. They claimed her first divorce was when she was 21, not 19; her second husband paid for her to go to law school (and allege that she left him the day after of the last transaction) and after their divorce she ceded custody of one of her daughters. Unsurprisingly these allegations have meant Davis has been on the receiving end of a lot of abuse.

Republican commentators have criticised her morals, her parenting ability and, most of all, her worthiness as a political candidate. Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah, blogged in a piece called 'Dear Wendy, You Can Have a Job and Kids'**: ‘She left her kid, husband, made it into a false “made-for-TV-movie-type-tale” and then demanded that Texans have the right to kill babies. That’s the woman you libs can really get behind!’

Step in Wendy’s two daughters, who have both written impassioned open letters to the press defending their mum. Dru, 25, said, ‘My mom has always shared equally in the care and custody of my sister and me, but I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I want to set the record straight.’


In a separate letter, Amber, 31, wrote: ‘I have recently heard the phrase “abandoned” quite often in the past week. That our mother “left us to be raised by our father” while she went on to pursue her education. Not only is this ridiculously unfair; it’s completely untrue. Dru and I have always been her number one priority. Always.’

Wendy and her campaign team have blamed her political rival Gregory Abbott for the smears: ‘We’re not surprised by Greg Abbott’s campaign attacks on the personal story of my life as a single mother who worked hard to get ahead. But they won’t work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women who know the strength it takes when you’re young, alone and a mother.’

All of which just makes us think: since when are male politicians’ parenting skills ever questioned when they run for office? Yeah, never. Depressing huh?

*The anti-choice bill, restricting Texan women’s access to abortions, was eventually signed into law, thanks to Rick Perry, the pro-life Texan governor who believes that abstinence works and wants all abortions banned(amongst other those heinous things like gay marriage and gun control).

*** And yeah, we find it pretty hilarious that Bristol Palin is telling a senator with two children that she can have children and a job. We think Wendy might have already got that memo.*

Picture: Getty

Follow Sophie on Twitter @Sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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