The most senior female Republican in Texas has openly attacked her party for its obsession with regulating the bodies of women and girls.
Speaking to the Washington Times, state comptroller Susan Combs said that the Republican Party was in danger of giving the impression that it doesn’t care about anything except restricting access to abortion.
Combs told the paper that the GOP had to show it had the full range of women’s interest at heart:
“Tell me that you give a flip about women’s interests. If all you want to talk about is my biology, ‘Gee what happened to my brain?’ That is my point. It is not all south of the waistline.”
However, no one should be under any illusions about Combs statement. Her own position on abortion is shifty. She opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is threatened. When asked by the Texas Tribune newspaper about her previous pro-choice position, she replied:
“Twenty years ago, I was pro-choice … because I had concerns about the role of government.” She then says that she changed her mind after “looking at studies and data and reading books.”
As a testament to this, PolitiFact Texas reported that in 2011 Combs instructed state legislator Jim Landtroop to add an amendment to a budget bill that “would have prohibited businesses from claiming money spent on elective abortions through its employee health plans as an exemption from the state’s franchise tax.”
Combs’ flip-flop can be attributed to the shift that appears to be taking place in Texas regarding reproductive rights. Following her titanitc struggle against Texas’ new, highly-restrictive abortion law Wendy Davis now appears to be trailing her Republican opponent Greg Abbott by just six points, according to a poll conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.
This mirrors a nation-wide effort by Republican state officials to distance themselves from the reactionary positions of the Tea Party in Congress, who are set to bear the brunt of the public’s anger over the recent government shutdown in the 2014 midterm elections.