The right subjects Wendy Davis to litmus tests no male would ever face

It’s sad that the attacks on Davis are coming uniformly from people who call themselves “pro-life.” Many women in Davis’s position–pregnant and unmarried at 18 years old–would have gotten an abortion. She didn’t. But that’s not enough to satisfy the right. Once she had the baby–and another with her second husband–she was expected to follow the right’s designated script or suffer dearly for it.

“Wendy is tremendously ambitious,” an anonymous source told the Dallas Morning News. “She’s not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way.” (Unlike her male colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives, who apparently sit at home darning their children’s socks.) Here’s a news flash: people who run for office are typically ambitious. But only with women is ambition treated as something shameful.

The double standard is reminiscent of how Sarah Palin was treated when she chose to run for vice president in 2008. Her candidacy set off a controversy about whether she was neglecting her children, in particular her special-needs baby. Back then, conservatives were the ones mostly defending her and expressing outrage that anyone would question her decision. Now they see attacking a woman’s parenting choices as fair game.