Conservative commentator Erick Erickson referred to Texas Sen. Wendy Davis (D) as an “Abortion Barbie” in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, sparking outrage over the sexist implications of linking the female lawmaker with the famous Mattel product.
Davis recently rose to national prominence after filibustering an anti-abortion bill for more than 11 hours. Although Texas ultimately ended up enacting those sweeping abortion clinic restrictions, she has continued to advocate for reproductive rights in the state. Recently asked about Kermit Gosnell — an illegal Philadelphia-area abortion provider whose crimes are typically invoked in fights over additional abortion restrictions — Davis incorrectly said that his unsanitary clinic was already licensed as an ambulatory surgical center.
Erickson mocked Davis for mixing up her facts on Gosnell:
Davis was attempting to make the point that Gosnell’s crimes don’t apply to the new abortion restrictions in Texas, which require clinics to adhere to the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities — an unnecessary rule that often forces clinics to make expensive updates, like widening their hallways. Abortion care in Texas’ clinics is already incredibly safe. The current regulations don’t allow clinics to commit the types of crimes that Gosnell did in his “house of horrors,” so his case is somewhat of a red herring.
This is hardly the first time that Erickson has incited controversy over a sexist statement. When he was a contributor for CNN last year, he said he liked the idea of excluding women from the Masters golf tournament because “I don’t want to be hanging out at some women’s event!” He also referred to the 2012 Democratic National Convention’s line-up of female speakers as “the Vagina Monologues” — prompting over 100,000 people to sign a petition calling on CNN to fire him. Nevertheless, Erickson went on to work for Fox, where he landed in the headlines again after saying that women should stick to raising children.
And more recently, Erickson has had plenty to say about Texas’ abortion battle. While Davis was engaged in her filibuster and her supporters tweeted under the “stand with Wendy” hashtag, Erickson started a “sit down, Wendy” hashtag in response. And after the legislature successfully passed the anti-abortion proposal — which threatens to close 90 percent of the abortion clinics in the state — he tweeted out a site selling coat hangers, telling liberals they should “bookmark” it.