The 14-Year-Old Who Gives Us Hope
It took two special sessions, working through protests and a filibuster, but governor Rick Perry of Texas finally got to sign into law one of the most restrictive abortion bills we’ve ever seen in the United States. The repercussions are serious: this bill will eliminate 37 out of 42 clinics in the state, basically leaving west Texas without access to clinics at all.
There will be lawsuits, but in the meantime, the pro-choice movement has busied itself with rage toward a 14-year-old seen holding a sign during a protest at the Texas state Capitol.
In a piece at xoJane.com, Tuesday Cain, the creator of the sign, writes:
I came up with it last week when my friend and I were trying to think of ideas for what would get people’s attention to protest the scary restrictions that are happening in my state trying to take away a woman’s right to safe and accessible abortions. It worked. [ … ] I’m going to be honest about what it feels like to be called that as a 14-year-old girl who has never had sex and who doesn’t plan to have sex anytime soon. [ … ] I’m not going to let someone calling me a whore stop me from fighting for what is right for all women. I’m not going to let the bullies win in the fight over women’s bodies. [ … ] I’m done feeling disappointed by these attacks. That is why I’m speaking out — even if I am only 14 years old. But the way things are playing out everything feels reversed. Adults are not acting like adults.
Over on the Guardian, her father Billy Joe Cain writes:
When I saw that the photo had been posted online, I knew there would be a firestorm. We have been reading comments online and have been flabbergasted at just how extreme people can be towards a young girl they have never met. Initially it was very disappointing to see that type of behavior. Instead of staying silent, I decided to use the opportunity to start a discussion. I immediately posted my name and support online because I believe that people should stand up to bullies. The perception of anonymity that the internet seems to breed is often filled with hate and one-sided monologue. Since I decided to be completely transparent on the internet years ago, the only decision I could make was to confront these comments head on. I was concerned about my family’s safety, and still am, but I felt it was more important to confront the hostility with measured debate.
Best father-daughter team ever.
And now we interrupt this broadcast for a jolly little ditty. It’s relevant, I swear: