Filibustering Texas lawmaker is a Harvard law grad and former teen mom

How did she do it?

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours without a bathroom break or sip of water last week to protest abortion limits that would have shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics.

Davis, a lawyer and Harvard law grad, has a history of perseverance. Bloomberg News, the Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Daily Texan highlight her background.

Davis, raised by a single mom with a sixth-grade education, began working at the age of 14 to help out at home. She became a teen mother with a short-lived marriage, living in a mobile home. She worked two jobs while enrolled at junior college to become a paralegal, then received a scholarship to Texas Christian University, where she graduated first in her class and was first in her family to get a bachelor’s degree. Her next step was Harvard Law School, where she graduated with honors. She served nine years on the Fort Worth City Council and won an upset election as a state senator in 2008, ousting the Republican incumbent. She is currently a lawyer at Cantey Hanger.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry highlighted Davis’ background when he spoke to a National Right to Life convention. “Who are we to say that children born into the worst of circumstances can’t grow to live successful lives?” Perry said. “It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, that every life is precious.”

Davis responded on her website. “Rick Perry’s statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds,” she said. “They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view.”

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