Democratic congressional candidate Wendy Davis, a veteran of the Texas Senate best known for her staunch defense of women’s health, says she is horrified by a whistleblower complaint this week alleging disturbing hysterectomies at Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia.
“I think Congress has to immediately call for an investigation,” Davis said, echoing calls made by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro and other top Democrats.
“I was horrified when I learned that this was happening,” Davis said. “It’s hard to describe the inhumanity of that. If this is how we are treating them, it’s a violation not only of our duty as a country to provide safe asylum for those who need it, it’s a violation of our very humanity.”
The Signal spoke to Davis on Friday. Polling released earlier this month shows her evenly matched with her opponent in Texas’ 21st congressional district, Republican incumbent Rep. Chip Roy.
Roy, a freshman congressman representing the Austin-San Antonio area, has been busy this month campaigning against Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor and has joined Texas Republicans in diverting attention from the pandemic to the issue of police funding.
On Thursday, Roy complained on Twitter that Texas has yet to reopen bars along with its other businesses. The same day, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on MSNBC to urge leaders to keep bars closed.
“Chip Roy has demonstrated from the outset that he is dangerous and cannot be trusted to take care of or look out for Texas families,” Davis said reacting to the tweet and citing Roy’s support of reopening Texas early in the pandemic.
In mid-April, two weeks before Texas’ stay-at-home order had expired and three months before cases in Texas would peak, Roy cheered on a letter sent to President Trump by rightwing activists calling such orders “tyranny.”
In an interview with the Texas Tribune in May, Roy advocated for herd immunity, a strategy of allowing the outbreak to continue in order for a sufficient portion of the population — somewhere around two-thirds — to get infected and become immune to the virus, thereby preventing further spread.
Roy denied saying he supported herd immunity in a recent interview with the Austin-American Statesman editorial board.
“Let’s be clear, he didn’t just walk it back. He denied that he said it all,” David said. “And he is on video saying it. And he’s not just on video calling for herd immunity, he’s on his Twitter feed calling for it.”
In Congress, lawmakers have yet to reach a deal for a second coronavirus relief deal. Much of the discussion revolves around how much the federal government should spend. Republicans are in turmoil about whether to spend more than $650 billion on a relief package that recently failed to pass in the Senate and was criticized as “skinny” by Democrats.
Democrats are offering a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, a significant reduction from the $3.4 trillion package passed by the House in May.
The latest Republican offer includes money for small businesses, schools, testing, and enhanced unemployment benefits, but no stimulus check or funding for cities and states like its Democratic counterpart.
“We must, absolutely must, make sure that our school districts, cities, and states have the needed resources to be able to continue to provide services to our communities,” Davis said when asked what she believed were some non-negotiable demands Democrats should be making.
Davis said cities and states are facing declining revenue sources because of the pandemic, which could lead to cuts for police, fire, and sanitation services. She said money for testing and the renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program used to keep workers employed in small businesses should also be required in any upcoming deal in Congress.
“We’ve got to make sure they can keep a roof over their head and put food on the plate of their families,” Davis said of struggling Texas families and the 1.8 million Texans who continue to claim unemployment. “We need to make sure they’re getting unemployment benefits and stimulus checks to support themselves while we weather this pandemic.”
Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Image