Skip to main content

Wendy Davis: It's the real Texans who count

By Wendy Davis, Special to CNN
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wendy Davis says her filibuster was to get Republicans to listen to women of Texas
  • Davis: Enough to using Texas as a political laboratory for testing far-right ideas.
  • Davis: Enough to using Texas as a workshop for giving millions to corporations
  • She says state politicians have cut health care, education, reproductive rights to the bone

Editor's note: Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008 and lives in Fort Worth.

(CNN) -- I stood up and began talking on the floor of the Texas State Senate not long ago because I hoped the Republicans in power would listen to how their latest cruel health care proposal would hurt the women of Texas.

Simply put, this bill would take away access to the most fundamental form of health care women need.

It would close down almost 90% of the women's clinics in this state. This comes after more than 50 women's health clinics providing cancer screening and family planning services were closed because the Republicans withdrew state-financed support from them. We now have 42. Under this draconian proposal, a state as expansive as Texas would have only five clinics remaining to serve thousands and thousands of women.

Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis

Real Texans don't want any woman to die of cancer because she can't get decent health care or medical advice. Real Texans don't want any woman to lose control of her life because she can't get birth control.

During the filibuster, women around the state related thousands of personal stories to me: One young woman said contraceptives gave her a chance to choose motherhood when she was ready. Women were helped by a clinic with the difficult and highly personal decision to end a pregnancy. Another woman said a clinic had helped comfort her when a much-wanted baby was dying inside her.

The "people's filibuster" that put a temporary stop on the misguided bill that powerful Republicans are still intent on ramming through will long be remembered as the moment when regular Texans -- real Texans -- stood up and said "enough" to the self-interested politicians who have run our state for too long.

Showdown over abortion in Texas
Perry: Filibuster senator was a teen mom

Enough to using Texas as a political laboratory for testing far-right ideas.

Enough to using Texas as a workshop for fattening the wallets of their special interest friends and supporters.

And enough of politicians listening only to each other, rather than real Texans.

There are important issues that desperately need the attention of the politicians who are -- at least for now -- in charge of our state.

Sadly, Gov. Rick Perry and his powerful allies don't seem interested.

They don't identify with the strong Texans who live in the town of West, where an unregulated, unmonitored fertilizer plant blew up, taking lives and destroying livelihoods. Because of a lack of state oversight, the small volunteer fire department that rushed to help didn't know the degree of danger they were facing.

They paid with their lives.

Real Texans believe in looking out for each other.

We believe in honoring our mothers and fathers and keeping our smallest residents -- our children -- healthy. The politicians in charge of Texas now clearly don't. Perry has refused to even consider expanding health care coverage in Texas because he cares more about scoring political points than he does about our Texas families.

Real Texans help when their neighbor is in need.

Texas Republican political leaders take perverse pride in how deeply they have cut our state's education budget. Thousands of teachers have been pulled from classrooms, schools have closed and valuable programs have been canceled. In many places, districts are forced to choose between prekindergarten programs and English, algebra and art.

Real Texans want their kids to have the best education possible, not the one politicians looking to brag about budget cuts have left us with.

My first filibuster, two years ago, was an attempt to protect our schools and our children from these reckless cuts. Republican leaders rewarded me for my efforts by removing me from the powerful Senate Education Committee.

I had to fight unfair Republican redistricting efforts when they tried to make the district I represent disappear.

Now, Texas Democratic legislators are fighting hard to pass an equal pay for equal work bill, something that is crucial to the many families that rely on income from dad and mom.

But then real Texans have never been afraid of a good fight.

That's what happened at our State Capitol during the filibuster, when real Texans -- ultimately --decided to make their voices heard.

I have a question for Perry and the state's powerful politicians who have ignored real Texans for so long:

Can you hear us now? And, more important, are you listening?

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Wendy Davis.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Q & A with artist Rachel Sussman on her new book of photographs, "The Oldest Living Things in the World."
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Martin Blaser says the overuse of antibiotics threatens to deplete our bodies of "good" microbes, leaving us vulnerable to an unstoppable plague--an "antibiotic winter"
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
John Sutter asks: Is it possible to eat meat in modern-day America and consider yourself an environmentalist without being a hypocrite?
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Sally Kohn notes that Meb Keflezighi rightly was called an American after he won the Boston Marathon, but his status in the U.S. once was questioned
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Denis Hayes and Scott Denman say on this Earth Day, the dawn of the Solar Age is already upon us and the Atomic Age of nuclear power is in decline
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Retired Coast Guard officer James Loy says a ship captain bears huge responsibility.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Peter Bergen says the latest strikes are part of an aggressive U.S. effort to target militants, including a bomb maker
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Cynthia Lummis and Peter Welch say 16 agencies carry out national intelligence, and their budgets are top secret. We need to know how they are spending our money.
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama knows more than anyone that he has much at stake in the midterm elections.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eric Sanderson says if you really want to strike a blow for the environment--and your health--this Earth Day, work to get cars out of cities and create transportation alternatives
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Bruce Barcott looks at the dramatic differences in marijuana laws in Colorado and Louisiana
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery supports the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT