A 14-year-old Texan stirred a considerable amount of controversy last week with a quippy sign protesting the state’s sweeping new abortion restrictions. Tuesday Cain’s message, written on brilliant pink poster board, read: “Jesus isn’t a dick, so keep him out of my vagina.”
Soon after, an image of Tuesday and her advice to Texas lawmakers started making the rounds on Twitter, and reproductive rights opponents (and jerks on social media) wasted no time in losing their damn minds over it.
On Monday, Tuesday’s father, Billy, came to his daughter’s defense, writing for the Guardian that he was proud of Tuesday’s willingness to stand up for her convictions — and her basic human rights — by coming out to protest the law (with some serious flair):
As parents, we believe that children should be taught continually, instead of just at school. My daughter and I have been to city council meetings to watch and discuss how politics gets done in the city. We have taken our children to the Capitol repeatedly because it is important for them to understand how politics affects them personally. When Sen. Wendy Davis was stopped from filibustering, I woke my daughter up so that she could watch the proceedings on the internet. We stayed up until 3.30am watching more coverage and researched the issues together. I explained as best I could what the bill itself would mean to women in the state of Texas, as well as how it would influence politics throughout the United States if it were passed. When my wife and I decided to go to the Capitol, we welcomed her to come along…
In our family, we have discussed women’s issues since our children could understand the concept. Our education system seems to think that abstinence is the name of the game, if sex education is taught at all. This latest abortion bill shows that giving the state control of people’s bodies is something that needs to be considered carefully and debated publicly. I see a potential future for women that I do not want to participate in. The invasion of a woman’s private decisions with her doctor is the beginning of a very difficult, slippery slope to navigate. This is important to everyone, not just my family. I would like to see everyone, not just our daughter, participating in government at any level.
Billy’s defense of his daughter’s activism, not to mention the reproductive rights of women everywhere, is touching, though the outspoken Texas teenager doesn’t exactly need anyone to defend her. In a recent editorial for xoJane, Tuesday explained that she created her sign to grab people’s attention — which is exactly what it did:
I’m a 14-year-old girl who has lived in Austin, Texas, my whole life. I like art, music and talking on the phone with my friends. When I grow up, I’d like to become a science teacher. I also believe in the right to choose and the separation of church and state. Or to put it another way — to put it the way I wrote it when I was protesting at the Capitol last week…
I came up with [the sign] 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.
And she had this to say to the adults calling her a “whore” on Twitter — and the adults in the Texas Legislature trying to deny women basic access to healthcare and their constitutionally protected rights:
It’s not anyone’s business, but as I said, I am a virgin, and I don’t plan to have sex until I am an adult. But none of those facts make me feel any less passionate about fighting for a woman’s right to choose and the separation of church and state in my home state of Texas…
Normally, I prefer to look up to adults as role models. But what is happening in Texas right now it’s hard to find adults who I want to look up to.
I don’t look up to an adult who is taking away a woman’s right to choose. I don’t look up to an adult who is calling a 14-year-old girl a whore. I don’t look up to an adult who is screaming in my face and saying I am ugly.
And I certainly don’t look up to anyone who says they are Christian but treats women the way I’ve been treated these past few days as a teenage girl.