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Teen activist insulted by Matt Gaetz raises $1 million for abortion access

When Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz body shamed 19-year-old Olivia Julianna on Twitter, she saw an opportunity to raise money for a cause she believes in.
Credit: AP
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

HOUSTON — Three days after a 19-year-old activist was publicly insulted by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on Twitter, she has raised more than a million dollars for abortion access.

It began when Olivia Julianna heard comments Gaetz made at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida. 

"Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?" Gaetz said at the conference for conservative college students. "Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb. These people are odious from the inside out. They’re like 5′ 2″, 350 pounds."

Julianna is an activist and strategist with the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change, a youth-led activist group that supports progressive candidates and causes, including abortion rights. She responded on Twitter

“Its come to my attention that Matt Gaetz — alleged pedophile — has said that it’s always the ‘odious... 5’2 350 pound’ women that ‘nobody wants to impregnate’ who rally for abortion," she wrote. "I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place."

Gaetz is under a federal investigation for sex trafficking, including trafficking underage girls. He has denied the allegations. 

Several hours later, Gaetz posted a screenshot of Julianna's profile picture with the caption "Dander raised," referring to a Newsmax headline that said his speech was "sure to raise dander of his opponents."

Julianna responded again on Twitter and posted a video on TikTok — which now has more than 2 million views — then decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

"In honor of Matt Gaetz publicly body shaming me, I'll be fundraising for the @genzforchange abortion fund," she announced on Twitter.

In just over 24 hours, she'd raised more than $100,000 for abortion access. By Thursday evening, there were more than $1 million in donations to the fund and climbing.

In an interview on MSNBC, Julianna said her young age is a gift because older politicians tend to underestimate her. 

"By underestimating me and thinking that I won't be able to fire back as hard as I proved that I can, they are truly gifting me a national platform on a silver platter," she said.

RELATED: Poll: Majority in US want legal abortion nationally

RELATED: More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers arrested at abortion rights protest outside Supreme Court


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