Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Friday explained that he was simply "praising" state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) when he said it was "unfortunate" that she didn't view abortions unfavorably based on her own experience as a teenage mother.
In a statement to the New York Daily News, the governor's office explained that he was “praising Sen. Davis for her success despite coming from difficult circumstances.”
Davis, who led a 13-hour filibuster earlier this week to block passage of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, responded on Thursday, chiding Perry for using "small words" that tarnished Lone Star state values.
"They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view," she said in a statement. "Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test."
In his remarks at the National Right to Life conference in Dallas, Texas, Perry invoked Davis as someone who was born into hard circumstances but ultimately became a successful Harvard educated lawyer.
“Who are we to say that children born into the worst of circumstances can’t grow to live successful lives?” he asked. "She was the daughter of as single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."