Motherhood, Time, and Wendy Davis’s Ethos

Timothy Ballingall

Abstract: Maternal abortion narratives, in which mothers describe the experience of choosing to abort (and grieving the loss of) a wanted pregnancy, enable rhetors to construct maternal pro-choice ethē. This “between” ethos is achieved most saliently through the ways mother rhetors shape time in these narratives. In particular, this essay looks at the temporal dimension of the ethos-building in former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid. Davis deftly provides insight into the ways that women’s rhetoric can resist and potentially change the lived temporalities of women in the future, thereby enabling broader possibilities for ethē construction.

Keywords: motherhood, time, ethos, Wendy Davis, reproductive rights, abortion

Motherhood, Time, and Wendy Davis's Ethos


Ballingall, Timothy. "Motherhood, Time, and Wendy Davis’s Ethos." Peitho 20.1 (2017): 100-121.