Excerpts on Abortion from Wendy Davis Memoir

The following are selected quotes from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' memoir, where she outlines her two personal experiences with abortion.

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis addresses supporters before they canvass for her in East Austin.

The following are selected quotes from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' memoir, where she outlines her two personal experiences with abortion. Davis' new book, Forgetting to Be Afraid, officially goes on sale on Tuesday.

On her abortion following an ectopic pregnancy: 

“That day in our doctor’s office, Jeff holding my hand as we looked at the sonogram screen, searching for our baby and seeing on the odd-shaped sac with no sign of life there, was a devastating one. Our 'Lucas' had implanted in a fallopian tube, rather than in my uterus ... My doctor advised us that it would be dangerous to my health to continue the pregnancy … The only medical option was to have surgery to terminate the pregnancy and remove the affected fallopian tube — which in Texas is technically considered an abortion, and doctors have to report it as such."

On her pregnancy following that ectopic pregnancy: 

“We stopped taking any measures to prevent a pregnancy, and, knowing that with only one fallopian tube our chances were greatly compromised, I secretly prayed that were it God’s plan for us we would find ourselves expecting again ... “When the sonogram revealed that I was expecting a girl, we were elated. We would have three wonderful girls. We picked out her name, Tate Elise."

On learning from her doctor that her baby would not survive: 
 

“… He repositioned my chair to its upright position and reached for a box of Kleenex, his hand actually shaking. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was immediately filled with dread ... I don’t recall exactly what he said at that point. But I do remember the words 'Dandy-Walker syndrome.' An acute brain abnormality."

“I couldn’t breathe. I literally couldn’t catch my breath. My baby. My precious baby Tate. I don’t remember much else about that day other than calling Jeff, trying to contain my hysterical crying. The rest of it is a shocked, haze-filled blur.” 

On the decision to terminate the pregnancy in the second trimester:

"At some point in the almost two weeks of second and third and fourth opinions and tortured decision making, I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what we needed to do. She was suffering … With the heaviest of hearts, we let our doctor know of our decision: that we would terminate our pregnancy, that it was the most humane and compassionate thing we could do to spare Tate the further pain and suffering that would surely follow if we decided otherwise.”

“In our doctor’s office, with tears flowing down both our faces, Jeff and I looked at our baby daughter’s beating heart on the sonogram screen for the last time. And we watched as our doctor quieted it. It was over. She was gone. Our much loved baby was gone.” 

On delivering the baby: 

“I accompanied my doctor to the hospital and delivered Tate Elise Davis by cesarean section, just as I had when Amber and Dru were born. The following day a dear friend who was a nurse in the unit where I delivered Tate brought her to me. She had dressed her in a a tiny pink dress and placed a knit cap on her enlarged head."

“Jeff and I spent the better part of the day holding her, crying for her and for us. We asked an associate minister from our church who was a trusted friend to come and baptize her ... The next day, as I lay in the hospital sobbing, my hand over my now-empty womb, Tate’s lifeless body was taken away and cremated. An indescribable blackness followed."