“I have dreams, hopes and ambitions,” Smith said. “Every girl here does. We have spent our whole lives working toward our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us.”
Lake Highlands High School Valedictorian Paxton Smith had planned on giving her speech at this past Sunday’s graduation ceremony on the effect of media on young minds, but eleven days earlier Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas Bill 8 which for the most part prohibits all abortions in the state. The so-called “heartbeat bill” bans abortions as early as six weeks, before some women even realize they’re pregnant, and makes no allowances for victims of rape or incest. The bill also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone found assisting a woman obtain an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has supposedly been detected.
During an interview with Lake Highlands Advocate Smith states: “I thought about making the speech at a different venue, like a rally where people wouldn’t be upset at what I had to say. But a large part of the reason I made the speech at graduation was that was the only place I could think of where I could reach so many people from so many different backgrounds. It did cross my mind that this is a family event where people are cheering for their kids, but this is a universal topic, and it affects everyone. I felt it needed to be said.”
While I know there are some who disagree that women should have the right to choose, I have been vehemently pro-choice since I was old enough to understand the issue and so I am sharing Paxton Smith’s courageous and impassioned speech. I encourage everyone to listen to what she says.