Michael New


#AskWendy? Wendy Davis dodges abortion during her Twitter townhall

Michael New

Yesterday, Texas state senator Wendy Davis, famous for her 13-hour filibuster of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation, participated in an online townhall meeting via Twitter. People could use the Twitter hashtag #AskWendy to submit questions. This townhall was sponsored by the Lone Star Project, a politically liberal advocacy group based in Texas. Many people took part, and the hashtag #AskWendy was trending for much of the afternoon. Pro-lifers effectively used the AskWendy hashtag to both pose tough questions about abortion and disseminate information about the pro-life position.

What was interesting is that during the course of the entire Twitter townhall, Senator Davis failed to answer even one question dealing with the issue of abortion. Senator Davis answered twelve questions on a range of topics including infrastructure, payday lending, and college-tuition benefits. However, abortion was never once discussed.

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This was doubtless calculated. As Senator Davis considers her political future, she realizes that it may not be shrewd to be so closely identified with support for late-term abortion. Indeed, this Wednesday a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 44 percent of Americans support a 20-week abortion ban, while only 37 percent are opposed. This is the third national poll in less than a month showing that such bans enjoy plurality support. As such, it should come as no surprise that Senator Davis is making an effort to emphasize her views on other issues.

— Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New.

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