Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' new memoir is dedicated in part to daughters Amber, Dru, and Tate, and those familiar with Davis' life story might be puzzled by the last name on that list. That's because Davis is revealing for the first time that Tate is the unborn child that she and her husband aborted in the second trimester, after doctors discovered a severe brain abnormality. The San Antonio Express-News and the AP obtained advanced copies, and the news is generating headlines given that Davis shot to national fame while filibustering against an abortion bill in Texas. Davis writes that she decided to abort in 1996 after doctors said the baby would be blind, deaf, and in a vegetative state if she survived the pregnancy.
Davis also felt the fetus “tremble violently" in the womb, "as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do. She was suffering." Her doctor "quieted" the unborn child's heart and delivered her by C-section. Davis and her husband had Tate baptized. After the abortion, "an indescribable blackness followed," writes Davis in Forgetting to Be Afraid, "and when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person." Davis also writes of a previously disclosed procedure to terminate an earlier ectopic pregnancy in which the embryo was implanted outside the uterus. She says she opted not to talk about either case during her famous filibuster because she feared it would "overshadow the events of the day."