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Wendy Davis defends controversial wheelchair ad

In this Aug. 26, 2014, file photo, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis presents her new education policy during a stop at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. Davis reveals in a new campaign memoi that she terminated two pregnancies for medical reasons.

Eric Gay, AP

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis defended a controversial TV ad that charges her wheelchair-bound opponent, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, has sought to deny the victims of other accidents or crimes the same compensation he received after being paralyzed three decades ago.

"In 1984, Greg Abbott sought out and received justice following a horrible injury, rightly so," Davis, a Democrat, said during a press conference in Fort Worth Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But then he turned around and built his career working to deny the very same justice that he received to his fellow Texans rightly seeking it for themselves."

"A tree fell on Greg Abbott," the narrator says as an empty wheelchair is shown onscreen in the ad, which was released last week. "He sued and got millions. Since then, he's spent his career working against other victims."

"Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb," the ad continues. "He ruled against a rape victim who sued a corporation for failing to do a background check on a sexual predator. He sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon who paralyzed patients."

Abbott's campaign quickly lashed out against the ad, arguing it was a "historic low" and "completely disqualifies [Davis] from seeking higher office in Texas."

Others suggested the ad was a desperate move from Davis, who is trailing in the polls. The latest figures from the CBS News/New York Times BattlegroundTracker, released this week, show Abbott ahead, 54 to 40 percent.

Davis was accompanied by two supporters in wheelchairs at the news conference as she defended the spot.

"Greg Abbott got his justice," she said. "Why doesn't he believe that a rape survivor or a person with a disability or a victim paralyzed forever ... should get justice too? What makes Greg Abbott think it's okay to deny them, his fellow Texans, the justice that he rightly went to court to receive?"

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.