Wendy Davis: Actually, I support banning abortion after 20 weeks with a few exceptions

Via Charles Cooke, who notes that between this and her newfound support for open carry, Davis would probably qualify as a tea-party candidate in a blue state like Connecticut.

At the rate we’re going, she’s going to end up filibustering a pro-choice bill before November.

Davis, a Fort Worth senator and the likely Democratic nominee for governor, told The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board that less than one-half of 1 percent of Texas abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those were in cases where fetal abnormalities were evident or there were grave risks to the health of the woman…

But the Democrat said the state’s new abortion law didn’t give priority to women in those circumstances. The law allows for exceptions for fetal abnormalities and a threat to the woman’s life, but Davis said those didn’t go far enough.

“My concern, even in the way the 20-week ban was written in this particular bill, was that it didn’t give enough deference between a woman and her doctor making this difficult decision, and instead tried to legislatively define what it was,” Davis said…

Davis said she could have supported a bill that contained only a 20-week ban, but the law’s restrictions on clinics and doctors have greatly curtailed access to the procedure in parts of Texas.

In other words … I don’t know what she’s saying. She’s saying, I guess, that she opposes no-questions-asked late-term abortion for the sake of convenience, but she wants women to be able to invoke the health exceptions essentially on their own say-so. The definition of abnormality or health risk would be subjective, not objective via legislative language — i.e. no questions asked. How many women in their third trimester who’ve resolved to abort would be deterred by a standard like that? All she’s doing with this parsing is trying to walk the line between signaling to casual Texas voters that she’s kinda sorta socially conservative while reassuring abortion warriors who follow this issue closely that her “ban” would have no teeth in practice. But that’s not her brand; the left loves her not because she’s willing to hide behind loopholes but because she’s a loud-and-proud filibusterin’ bulwark against the pro-life patriarchy. Says Jonah Goldberg, what exactly are people who “stand with Wendy” standing for at this point? Do they even know?

Honestly, I think this has become the most interesting electoral experiment in American politics. Her candidacy is about two things: Her knighting as pro-choice royalty last year and her biography as the professional woman who’s worked her way up and is on the cusp of proving that women really can have it all if Texas will just go ahead and make her governor. Red-state political realities are forcing her to give back the first credential. All that’s left of Wendy 2014 is feminist passion play. Hence the experiment: How much enthusiasm can she sustain among liberals for a candidacy that’s now purely about identity politics? Having achieved left-wing celebrity status, can she lose that status or will they feel duty-bound, if only to save face, to excuse her heresies and go down with the ship? There must be plenty of liberal Davis fans in Connecticut who’ve noticed her nascent tea-partyism. Will they continue to pony up donations, telling themselves that it’s Good For Women and that she’ll revert to form once in office a la Obama and gay marriage? Or will they decide that it’s no fun cheering for a fighting liberal who’d rather hide and lose a close-ish election than fight and lose badly?

Either way, this is why the scrutiny of her life story is more damaging to her than it is to most candidates. It’s not because there’s a double standard for women, as she recently and predictably implied. It’s because, once you take her bio away, there’s nothing left. Exit question: If Sandra Fluke were running in a red state, she’d be anti-contraception now, right?