Chloe Caswell is fed up with Texas politicians attacking reproductive rights, so she's using the Internet to fight back. The artist started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to create a 6-foot-tall vulva statue — built to scale — in support of Texas women.
What's more, any money raised beyond her $600 goal will go toward helping women seeking abortions in her state. Currently, she has raised close to triple that amount.
"I plan to help women with travel and housing costs because so many women must travel and many abortions are two-day endeavors," Caswell told Mic. "Clinics only exist in four cities in the state, so many women traveling in-state and out-of-state will need accommodations."
Caswell's grassroots campaign is fueled by both a desire to do good by the women in the Lone Star State and anger: "I am ready to say 'fuck you' to the rich, white, men in Texas who are limiting my rights to my own body," she wrote on her Kickstarter page.
"About three weeks ago, when the incredibly restrictive abortion and female reproductive health legislation was upheld, I was very hurt and felt betrayed by my state and my country," Caswell told Mic. "I had a friend at the time facing a very difficult decision to either stay in the state and receive a very invasive surgical abortion at the one clinic in our city (we are lucky to still have one in Austin) or to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a much less invasive medication abortion. That is when I decided that I needed to do something to help women in my state."
The legislation she's referring to is HB2, a contentious bill that aimed to severely curtail women's access to abortion. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law in 2013, which promptly ignited court challenges. On Oct. 2, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans upheld HB2, shutting down all but eight of the state's clinics and leaving 900,000 of Texas' reproductive-age women 150 miles or more from an abortion facility. However, on Oct. 14, the Supreme Court blocked key parts of the law, easing some of the restrictions.
But even with the Supreme Court's emergency appeal ruling, USA Today reports that the "issue is likely to return to the Supreme Court, possibly as soon as next year," making Caswell's project all the more necessary.
Supporters have until Dec. 3 to donate to her project. In the meantime, Caswell is brainstorming ways to partner with Planned Parenthood South Austin Clinic and other pro-choice organizations to reach women in need of support.