Levin finds their voice in the fight for abortion rights

Student activist discusses reproductive rights and the importance of harnessing the power of the teenage voice


Cassidy Levin

Levin speaks at an abortion rights protest they planned with TX4Abortion on Sept. 4.

By Ingrid Smith, McCallum High School

In this episode of Real Talk, junior and abortion rights activist Cassidy Levin shares why they think teens have the ability to change the world. Levin said that they began protesting after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. After standing in front of the Texas capitol and hearing someone cry while telling their story, Levin could not stop.

“I’m fighting for the people who can’t be out there fighting, the people who aren’t able to be in the street, people who are at a higher threat of violence from the police or have disabilities that don’t allow them to be out there,” Levin said. “Those are the people who are hurt most. Those are the people who are going to face the brunt of it.”

All of our voices matter, and if you believe something, you should speak up for it, and you should go fight for it.

— Cassidy Levin

After months of attending protests put on by organizations like TX4Abortion rights, Levin began planning protests.

“In a cultural sense, I hope that we can de-stigmatize abortion,” Levin said. “It is healthcare. It’s not something shameful. I’d like to see more kindness and less violence. I’d like to see a future with no stigma around abortion, and federal protections. I’d also like to see more support for young parents, and I’d like to see national free health care. Childcare and education, it all ties together. I would just like to see a better world for the actual kids.”

Levin believes that even though teens aren’t legal adults, with weekends off, the ability to walk long distances, social media and a distance of only 15 minutes from the state capitol, McCallum students have the power to make real change.

“I mean, it’s my future, right?” Levin said. “I’ll be here longer than some old dude. I also think that people who say ‘you’re too young to have an opinion,’ well, then shouldn’t I be too young to have a kid? All of our voices matter, and if you believe something, you should speak up for it, and you should go fight for it. No matter how old you are, or anything, you should fight for what you believe in no matter what.”

Levin attends a silent protest they planned on Sept. 4. The group met near the Texas capitol and marched toward the governor’s mansion. (Cassidy Levin)

Levin said they would rather be on the streets fighting every day than doing nothing. But they know that protests make the strongest impact when combined with community building, speaking to representatives, voting and spreading awareness.

“Whatever you can do, if it is as simple as posting stuff or, if you want to get involved in leadership or anything in between, if you don’t do it, that’s dumb,” Levin said. “Do it. There are so many people, people I know, people I love, who care, but they don’t care enough. I think it’s about empathy. You have to put yourself in other people’s shoes, and you have to try and imagine what they’re going through.”

It’s not just about abortion. It’s about building the future we want.

— Cassidy Levin

While Levin understands that not everyone is willing to put on bloody pants and attend an abortion rights protest, they believe that people should fight to create the world they want to live in, in whatever way they can.

“It’s not just about abortion,” Levin said. “I mean if it was just about abortion that would be bad enough, but it’s about building the future we want. And that future should include bodily autonomy, and it should include whatever you want it to include. You have so much time left in your life that you need to fight for what you want the world to be like, and not just for you but for future generations. You have a responsibility to make a better world.”

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on September 23, 2022.