When Wendy Davis arrived in Los Angeles for a fundraiser on Thursday, she was greeted by life-sized posters of “Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis.” According to the Huffington Post, the campaign spotted at least five of the posters in different parts of the city, each depicting Davis's face on a pregnant Barbie doll.
The Davis campaign has called on the Abbott campaign to denounce the posters, but in keeping with tradition, it has not. Abbott's campaign is also claiming it does not know who is responsible for the posters, though the source is well known. But Texas women's groups are speaking out against the posters, even if Greg Abbott won't.
Read about the responses to the posters – and who is responsible – after the jump.
The posters were paid for by 53-year old Greg Abbott supporter Kathryn Stuard of Midland, Texas. Stuard paid a street artist named “Sabo” an undisclosed amount of money to fund this latest project. “It hits people with the truth,” Stuard explained.
Sabo has a history of creating provocative conservative political art. Perhaps the most disturbing is a poster of Ted Cruz's face on a muscular, tattooed body as part of Cruz's “blacklisted and loving it tour,” pictured at left.
On Twitter, Stuard has distanced herself from the idea that she commissioned the Abortion Barbie posters, claiming that she was just providing financial support to an artist whose work she admires. “I find it fascinating that my support of a talented artist is the story. He is the story. Why hate that he expresses visually what u support.”
But neither Stuard nor Sabo are really the story. The story is that Greg Abbott won't distance himself from this kind of dirty, sexist campaigning.
“This is just another in a long line of offensive actions and comments by Greg Abbott in an attempt to demean Wendy Davis and women across Texas,” said Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas. Last year, Greg Abbott responded to someone who called Wendy Davis “Retard Barbie” on Twitter by saying “thanks for your support.”
Several groups in addition to the Davis campaign are calling on Abbott to denounce the posters. “We demand that Greg Abbott denounce such disrespectful actions,” said Annie's List Executive Director Grace Garcia. “Will he stay silent yet again? This is the same man who chose to appear with Ted Nugent, who has continually made offensive comments about women. And Greg Abbott has said he would not support equal pay for equal work for all Texans. I hope Greg Abbott will surprise us this time by siding with Texas women on this matter – he needs to make it clear such personal attacks are not acceptable.”
“Texas women have had enough of the degrading, offensive, and mean spirited messaging that continues to be used to attack female candidates this election cycle,” said Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Communications Director Tanene Allison. “It is the women of Texas, and the issues that most matter to them, that will decide this election. Every single Texan, and candidate, should denounce these disgusting and deplorable posters. The women of Texas are watching, and we are ready to demand leadership that respects us.”