A graduating Texas high school senior used her valedictorian speech to promote abortion and is receiving kudos from well-known liberals in response.
Lake Highlands High School valedictorian Paxton Smith was supposed to center her pre-approved speech around the media and “how much of it she consumes and how that consumption has shaped the way she sees the world,” but she made a last-minute swap to address Texas’ new abortion law.
Gov. Greg Abbot signed a “heartbeat” law on May 19, that prohibits Texas abortion clinics from performing procedures after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which typically occurs six and a half to seven weeks after gestation.
Smith used her platform to criticize the law. “I have dreams and hopes and ambitions. Every girl graduating today does. And we have spent our entire lives working towards our future, and without our input, and without our consent, our control over that future has been stripped away from us,” she said.
She admitted to being concerned that her efforts towards the future won’t matter if she is raped or her contraceptives fail. “I hope that you can feel how gut-wrenching that is. I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is to have the autonomy over your own body taken away from you,” she went on.
Smith characterized the law as a war on her body and rights. “A war on the rights of your mothers. A war on the rights of your sisters. A war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent,” she concluded.
A slew of prominent liberals lauded her with praise. “This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton,” Clinton tweeted.
“Paxton, thank you for having the courage of your convictions and inspiring Texas with your refusal to accept injustice as the price of participation in civic life,” said Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke said. “May we all use our place in this democracy to fight for what we believe to be right and follow your example!”
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 2, 2021