Wendy Davis Open to Leading Planned Parenthood

Wendy Davis / Getty Images
• March 13, 2018 3:52 pm


Wendy Davis, the 2014 Democratic nominee for Texas governor, did not rule out the possibility on Monday that she might replace Cecile Richards at the helm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Speaking to Politico's Women Rule podcast at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Davis dodged a question of whether she was in the running to succeed Richards. Davis did, however, offer a strong endorsement of the abortion provider, saying Planned Parenthood was "always going to be part of the core" of who she was.

"Planned Parenthood and the mission of Planned Parenthood — the health care provided by Planned Parenthood — is always going to be part of the core of who I am," Davis said. "I’m so proud that I’ve had an opportunity to travel all over this country and help Planned Parenthood affiliates to be successful."

Davis, as a state senator in 2013, first came to prominence for her opposition to legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks and requiring abortion clinics in Texas to institute standardized safety standards. Davis conducted an 11-hour filibuster on the floor of the Texas State Senate in an effort to prevent the ban from heading to then-Gov. Rick Perry's desk.

Although her filibuster was ultimately unsuccessful, Davis and her pink running shoes succeeded in capturing the imagination of national Democrats, who subsequently hitched their hopes of turning Texas blue to her gubernatorial campaign. Hopes of a Democratic victory came up short in November of 2014 as Davis failed to garner even 40 percent of the total vote, losing to then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott by nearly one million votes.

Since losing the governor's race, Davis has remained active in Democratic politics, traveling the country to raise money for candidates and causes. She was first tipped as a potential replacement for fellow Texas Democrat Cecille Richards in January when the longtime Planned Parenthood president announced her intention to retire. Davis' boosters were quick to note that she already had a national profile, thanks to her 2014 race, and could bolster the group's fundraising efforts.

Regardless of whether she is leading the group in the future, Davis said she will remain committed to the organization's goal of expanding access to unmitigated abortion.

"I’m going to continue to do everything I can to stand for the work that they do and, obviously, for women’s reproductive freedoms in general," Davis said.