In a skirmish at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston about the state’s new ultra-restrictive abortion law, Democratic Senator Wendy Davis angrily told Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry he knows nothing about human reproduction or women’s vaginas.
“You don’t have to own an SUV to know where to pump the gas,” responded Perry, drawing immediate boos from the small lecture hall full of med students and from some of the media in attendance.
As the governor’s press handlers started to interrupt, Perry waved them off and stepped up to an anatomically-correct ‘female’ doll used in medical training that was laying on an examining table in the room.
“I’m not stupid. Those are the vagina right there,” said Perry, pointing at but not touching the labi majora, the visible protruding edges leading in to the vagina.
As CNN reported, the room went quiet for a very brief second before erupting in “loud, loud laughter and what-the-f’s.” Over the noise, Senator Davis could be heard repeating over and over, “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?”
Perry has been heavily criticized by large numbers of Texans and other Americans for signing into law House Bill 2 which bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and sets restrictive conditions that will shut down the vast majority of the state’s women’s health clinics that provide the service. The clinics that will remain in business are owned by United Surgical Partners, a company marketed by Perry’s sister, Milla Perry Jones, who is also a shareholder.
As reporters began shouting questions at Governor Perry, he and security team agents huddled around the medical-training doll with Chief of Staff Billy B. Adair seen talking quietly into Perry’s ear.
“Hell, I was close,” said Perry, shrugging to the crowd in the room as he was shuffled out of the room speaking back over his shoulder.
“It’s all about protecting unborn life not about where some gal’s body parts are. I knew it was there somewhere…” he could be heard saying as his voice trailed off into the hallway.
Senator Davis, who filibustered the first attempt to pass the abortion bill, said she couldn’t stop laughing because Perry’s comments were so “scary, scary stupid.”
“He just compared women’s bodies to his Chevy Suburban,” said Davis loudly over the buzz of talking in the room.
“Governor Perry couldn’t find a vagina today. Governor Perry couldn’t find a vagina even if you put a post-it note on it.”
Reportering for The Lapine