Miss Tuesday Cain,
Your poster’s message, “Jesus isn’t a dick so keep him out of my vagina,” hurls an arguably clever but definitely vulgar curse toward your opponents. It doesn’t present an argument so much as an accusation: legal restrictions upon abortion procedures and abortion providers, and legal prohibitions predicated upon the gestational development of a fetus are based upon biased religious beliefs without reasonable basis in what we know about biology. In the case of a person opposed to all abortions whatsoever, regardless of circumstance, your accusation has merit, but this accusation does not apply to all who would support such legislation as passed into law in Texas, or similar legislation in states such as my own, Arkansas. The Patriarchy is an atheist supporter of such laws; in its particular case, the accusation is entirely without merit.
You wrote that you and a friend devised your accusation to “get people’s attention to protest the scary restriction that are happening in my state trying to take away a woman’s right to safe and accessible abortions.” You claim the sign worked. And now you complain the sign garnered you slurs you didn’t earn. We agree. You clearly explain that the slurs labeling you a whore were not received until you father defended the sign. Lest we forget, here’s some of what he said.
“After having been at the Capitol for four days, reading all of the anti-choice posters and seeing their pictures, my daughter made a sign which she and her friend held up during the protest… 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. 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… 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.”
Your father, Mr. Billy Cain, by his own admission, made a decision to fuel a firestorm that, by your own admission, has put you, a minor, in the midst of a wedge-issue political debate. While we will not fault your father for exercising his freedom to debate with other citizens within his state about its governance and laws, he should have anticipated that your participation would draw exactly the slurs you received and will continue to receive until your public participation in protests at Texas’ capitol is forgotten. Any claim he makes for calm, while justified regarding the content of public discourse, is nonetheless willfully naïve.
We do not believe you when you write, “It’s hard for me to understand why adults would be calling me [whore].” People, even grown-up adult people, may be mean, vicious, creatures. We believe you know this. We do not believe a person who can devise and carry a sign saying, “Jesus isn’t a dick so keep him out of my vagina,” is incapable of comprehending the motivations behind vulgar language. We are confident you utilize and condemn such language when it suits you.
You assert “that abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible for women.” It is. You claim to “believe women should be in control of their bodies and should not ever have to put their lives at risk.” Women are in control of their bodies. Women are not required to put their lives at risk. We suspect you don’t believe us, so we’ll provide you evidence. Here’s what the law you protested does, in plain language.
1. It requires that the physician performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital with obstetrical or gynecological health case services not more than 30 miles from the place where the abortion is performed or induced.
2. It requires that the physician performing an abortion provide 24-hour access to the woman’s medical records by phone, personally or by proxy, and the name and telephone number of a hospital that can treat complications arising from the abortion procedure.
3. It makes a failure to do either item 1 or 2 a misdemeanor that may be fined up to $4,000.
4. It requires that some determination of fetal age be made prior to an abortion. Reliance on the opinion of another physician is permitted.
5. It requires that for any fetus more than 20 weeks old, the pregnancy must be terminated by a method that provides the greatest possibility that the fetus will survive.
6. When a physician determines the life or health of a pregnant woman is in jeopardy, items 4 and 5 may be ignored.
7. When a fetus has a severe abnormality, items 4 and 5 may be ignored.
8. The law protects the privacy of a woman whose pregnancy is aborted, with exceptions only when “disclosure is essential to the administration of justice and there is no reasonable alternative to disclosure.”
9. Defines abortion so that several cases of non-viable pregnancies and non-pregnancy medical conditions may not be adjudicated such that women will be denied abortion of a pregnancy as a matter of law.
10. Defines abortion-inducing-drug so that drugs that are known to cause abortions may be prescribed and dispensed by doctors to treat other conditions.
11. Defines unborn child so that it’s meaning includes a fetus from conception through birth. Lest one be confused, this may reasonably extend the definition of “unborn child” both earlier and later than previously considered.
12. Defines other pertinent terms, such as physician.
13. Assigns several enforcement responsibilities and powers to the Texas Medical Board so that physicians much of the oversight of this law is managed by physicians.
14. Requires that facilities in which abortions be performed meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, that is, facilities where surgery is performed and the patient can get up and move about shortly or immediately after the surgical procedure.
15. Provides for severability of portions of the law that are determined to be unconstitutional without striking the entire law.
Miss Cain, we do not comprehend how these rules usurp a woman’s control over her body. This law does not further restrict her choice to have an abortion until 20 weeks after conception of a fetus. She is permitted to copulate and conceive without restriction: she may enjoy a dick in her vagina if she chooses. She may decline a dick in her vagina. She may choose another method of conception, or decline to conceive a child. Were she raped, this law provides more than four months to assess the reproductive outcome of the rape and choose to abort a fetus she has not chosen to conceive.
Women’s health is explicitly protected by this act. Abortion providers must be more qualified, better situated geographically to capable hospitals, and better equipped than previously mandated. The law adds additional exceptions, previously absent, to safeguard a woman’s health and privacy if she chooses an abortion. The law does not require a woman to carry a non-viable fetus to term, carry a dead baby, or endure a pregnancy supporting a severely abnormal fetus. Further, the law requires physicians to determine the time since conception before performing an abortion. This is a reasonable measure meant to evaluate the present condition of the pregnancy and ensure an appropriate and safe procedure.
Pregnancy abortion in Texas is still legal, even 20 weeks after conception. Yes, you read that correctly, aborting a pregnancy is still legal 20 weeks after conception. The law requires that abortion of a pregnancy more than 20 weeks along must provide “the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.” The law further requires that an abortion must have a medical reason: in the language of the law, “if there exists a condition that, in the physician ’s reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the woman that, to avert the woman ’s death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” an abortion is necessary. A physician may even disregard the life of a fetus if that physician determines that giving the fetus its best opportunity isn’t medically advisable for the mother.
The intent of the legislation just passed in Texas is clear. After 20 weeks, which is about half-way through the usual term of a pregnancy, the unborn child will be provided an opportunity at life, so long as that opportunity does not endanger the mother. Abortion of a pregnancy 20 weeks along for convenience is prohibited; a medical justification is required.
Finally, pro-choice advocates reasonably argue that a fetus cannot reliably be expected to survive merely 20 weeks after conception. This is correct. This, however, is not the thrust of your dispute and protest action against the Texas legislature, else you would have concentrated your effort upon that particular of the law. Were we to argue this point directly, one might propose 24 weeks since conception, or another reasonably established fetal age, rather than 20 weeks, for the prohibition against abortions for convenience. Timing at 24 weeks would provide a child roughly 50-50 odds. Instead, you have argued that abortion of a pregnancy without regard to the viability of a child or the justification for the abortion is the right of every woman.
This advocacy, we think, is why the ignorant call you “whore.” You are right. No person may justifiably call you “whore.”
The appropriate term is “liar.”