A high school student gives an anti-abortion speech instead of a graduation address.
In place of a graduation speech permitted by her school, a US high school graduate presented an abortion rights rally.
Paxton Smith, the valedictorian of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas in 2021, delivered a speech about the impact of the media on young brains to school leaders.
However, she spoke at Sunday’s graduation ceremony about how the “heartbeat bill,” passed into law by Texas governor Greg Abbott a week and a half before, had taken away her and her classmates’ rights.
I hope you can understand how gut-wrenching it is to lose control of your own body, and how dehumanizing it is to lose control of your own body.
“I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace while there is a war on my body and a fight on my rights,” she told her students. A battle on your moms’ rights, your sisters’ rights, and your daughters’ rights. We are unable to remain silent.”
Any abortion once a first heartbeat has been discovered is now illegal under the new law. This could happen as soon as six weeks after conception, when many women are completely ignorant that they are pregnant.
The bill also allows anyone to sue a Texas abortion provider or anyone who assisted someone in getting an abortion for up to $10,000 (£7,000) in damages.
“I have dreams, hopes, and ambition,” Ms Smith added. This is something that every female graduating today will do. We’ve spent our entire lives working toward our future, and now we’ve had our power over it taken away from us without our input or consent.
“I’m frightened that if my contraceptives fail, if I’m raped, my ambitions, objectives, plans, and work for the future would be in vain.
“I hope you can understand how gut-wrenching it is to lose control of your own body, and how dehumanizing it is to lose control of your own body.”
Her speech was captured on video. (This is a brief piece.)