Teen slams Republican senator, defends Planned Parenthood in epic town hall exchange
Powerful white men notoriously make a lot of decisions about what women can do with their bodies.
At a Thursday town hall, one Arizona teen called out exactly what's wrong with that equation.
Deja Foxx, 16, was one of many dissatisfied constituents who showed up at Sen. Jeff Flake's town hall in Mesa. When it was her turn to ask a question, Foxx grilled Flake on Planned Parenthood. Earlier that day, President Donald Trump signed into law a measure allowing states to block Title X funds for abortion providers, which Flake supported.
Foxx had "some facts" for him.
"I'm a young woman and you're a middle-aged man," she said. "I'm a person of color, and you're white. I come from a background of poverty and I didn't always have parents to guide me through life. You come from privilege.
"So I'm wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why it's your right to take away my right to choose Planned Parenthood and to choose no-copay birth control to access that," Foxx continued, her final words nearly drowned out by cheers from the crowd: "So if you could explain that to me, I would appreciate it."
"I'm glad to hear of my privileged childhood," Flake answered, explaining that he was "one of 11 kids" and paid for his own education. "I didn't grow up privileged," he said, acknowledging that he was "fortunate" to "have a wonderful job representing the state of Arizona" as the audience booed.
Foxx had a very apt retort at the ready.
"Privilege comes in many forms," the teen shot back.
Flake explained that his goal as a congressman was to help everyone achieve the "American dream that all of us have been successful at."
Foxx had a follow-up for that statement, too, asking Flake: "If no-copay birth control is helping me to be successful, to reach for higher education, and Planned Parenthood is doing that as well, why would you deny me the American dream?"
The crowd went wild.
In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, Foxx explained that she became a Planned Parenthood patient at the age of 15. Her parents weren't around to help her figure out the health care system, she said, and Planned Parenthood made her feel "comfortable."
"I felt taken care of and I had a place to ask my questions," Foxx explained. She wanted politicians like Flake and Trump to understand that real people exist behind political issues.
"Without understanding our stories and our struggles," Foxx said, "there's no way [Trump] can make good choices for us and represent us well."
Same goes for all the "old white men," as Foxx put it, legislating people's sexual health and reproductive rights.