High school student Paxton Smith was allowed to give her farewell speech at her high school. Instead of the approved text, she chose a letter about recent anti-abortion laws in the state of Texas where she resides. “It is wrong to speak of anything other than myself and millions of women right now.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill in late May that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. The law also gives citizens the right to sue doctors who still perform abortions after six weeks.
“I have dreams and I’m ambitious, just like every girl here,” Smith said in her speech to Lake Highlands High School in Dallas. “We have worked hard all our lives for our future, and without our consent or contribution, we have been completely denied control of our future.”
Smith received loud applause from her classmates at different times, who listened to her from the park. “I am terrified that if my contraceptives don’t work or if I get raped, my efforts and dreams will be irrelevant. Do you see how heartbreaking and degrading it is to have your body stripped of its autonomy?
That was brave
The speech was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Tiktok and Youtube and was greeted with applause from the dignitaries. Hillary Clinton tweeted, “That was brave, thanks for raising your voice, Paxton.” Texas Democrat and former congressman Beto O’Rourke also thanks her.
Smith said the sudden fame seems ‘weird’ d . magazine, but she is glad the topic is getting attention. It also wants to encourage people to vote, including in local elections. “They are more important than you think.”
In late May, Texas lawmakers cheered after Abbott signed the bill: