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High School Valedictorian Stands Against Texas Abortion Legislation

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Last month, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, approved a law that prohibits nearly all abortions once a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, typically around six weeks into pregnancy. This controversial law has faced strong criticism for being seen as an attempt to restrict women’s autonomy over their bodies. Paxton Smith, the valedictorian at Lake Highlands High School, deviated from her planned speech on media and television during her graduation ceremony to address the impact of the heartbeat bill.

“Today I had intended to discuss the significance of TV, media, and content, topics that are dear to me. However, given recent events, it feels inappropriate to focus on anything other than the current issue affecting me and numerous women in our state,” Paxton expressed.

“I, like every graduating girl here today, have dreams, hopes, and ambitions that we have worked tirelessly towards. Yet, our ability to shape our future has been forcefully taken from us without our consent,” Paxton continued.

“I live in fear that if my birth control fails, or if I am a victim of sexual assault, all my aspirations, dreams, and efforts for the future will be disregarded,” Paxton shared. “I wish for you to understand the anguish that brings. I want you to grasp the dehumanization of having control over your own body ripped away from you.”

“I refuse to use this platform to endorse silence and tranquility in the face of an assault on my body and my rights, on your mothers’ rights, on your sisters’ rights, on your daughters’ rights. We must not remain silent,” she concluded.

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