Portions of the left-wing media are buzzing about how 16-year-old Deja Foxx lit into Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) at a recent town hall meeting in Mesa, Arizona. Foxx was upset about his vote for federal legislation that allows states to not provide Planned Parenthood funds for family planning services.
While the video of the exchange between Foxx and Flake is below, I want to focus on how Foxx framed her question to him:
“I just want to state some facts,” Foxx began. “I’m a young woman; you’re a middle-aged man. 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.”
She went on, “I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why is it your right to take away my right?”
Refinery29 reports that in an earlier roundtable, Foxx explained “why Planned Parenthood is so important to her.”
“I am a ‘youth on their own’ — meaning I don’t live with my parents or have a permanent home,” she said in a transcript provided by Planned Parenthood. “So when I needed birth control and reproductive health care, I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the health care system.” Because she didn’t have access to her state insurance card, her care was completely covered by Title X funds, she said.
(By the way, isn’t it odd that at a time when alternative media is looking into the hideous nature of pedophilia, Planned Parenthood is asking a 16-year-old girl without a permanent home to speak about her concern about possibly losing access to birth control? )
Both the framing and substance of Foxx’s question is loaded with fallacies, facts that ought to be irrelevant, and demonization tactics.
When Foxx says she wants Title X family planning funding to continue as before, she basically wants the federal government to pay for her birth control. She is arguing she has a positive right to that, meaning someone else pays for something to which she’s entitled. However, the problem with positive rights is that other people pay for something for which they receive nothing in return. Under normal circumstances, that is called theft. True rights are negative rights, in which people have a right to not be harmed by other people.
Regarding whether Flake’s vote for the legislation was a good idea, the “facts” she cites are irrelevant. Or at least they ought to be. Who cares if she’s a woman person of color, and he’s a middle-aged man? Why should it matter that he had a stable family life, and she doesn’t? And what does it even mean to say one person is “privileged” and another person isn’t?
However, these facts matter when asking a far different question: why are you, a middle-aged white man, trying to keep a woman (girl?) of color like me down? Because that’s essentially the question Foxx asked Flake.
Once we recognize that Foxx is fighting over maintaining her positive right to birth control, the ridiculousness behind her question becomes abundantly clear. However, to maintain that “right”, another moral context needs to be created within which her ability to receive birth control makes sense. Hence, it’s bad enough that Foxx’s free birth control (to her, at least) may be taken away, but the one voting for that is everything she isn’t.
Apparently, her free goodies are far more important than living in a stable and loving family, and maintaining healthy relationships.
While it’s easy for me to criticize Foxx for her unwarranted attack on Flake, in many ways I feel sorry for her. She should have a sense of security that comes from living within a stable, loving family, but she doesn’t. Unfortunately, given her need for birth control, at sixteen, she attacks a decent man for being decent.
I cannot imagine the pain she must have incurred in her life for her to come to that position.
While she is clearly wrong in what she says, I hope that she has the chance of getting what she clearly needs and wants.