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 5:22 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
updated 11:00 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
updated 5:23 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
updated 1:39 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
updated 3:20 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
updated 9:56 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
updated 4:01 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
updated 9:53 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
updated 5:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
updated 4:23 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
updated 9:26 AM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
updated 9:39 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
updated 12:38 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
updated 1:28 PM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
Rip Rapson says the city's 'Grand Bargain' saved pensions and a world class art collection by pulling varied stakeholders together, setting civic priorities and thinking outside the box
updated 6:10 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
Glenn Schwartz says the airing of the company's embarrassing emails might wake us up to the usefulness of talking in-person instead of electronically
updated 5:33 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
The computer glitch that disrupted air traffic over the U.K. on Friday was a nuisance, but not dangerous, says Les Abend
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT