Lake Highlands Graduation Valedictorian Paxton Smith had a few choice words to say about Texas’ new and incredibly restrictive abortion law.
Highlights of the law:
Women can only get an abortion during the first six weeks of pregnancy. Given that women have their menstral cycle once a month, this leaves as little as two weeks for a woman to realize she’s pregnant, medically confirm the pregnancy, and decide on an abortion, find a clinic, arrange time off from work or school and child care, if needed, and organize transportation (many Texans live far from a clinic.
Additionally, and chillingly, anyone inside or outside the state instead now has the power to sue abortion providers or anyone who could have helped a person to get the procedure after six weeks. They can seek up to $10,000 USD in damages per defendant. Abortions are allowed after six week only in the event of a medical emergency, but not in the case of rape or incest.
Paxton’s valedictorian speech took courage, especially given the recent rise of extreme conservativism and a pervasive gun culture that both seem alive and well in the United States. Here’s Paxton Smith’s full speech:
“As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard. I was going to get up here and talk to you about TV and content and media because those are things that are very important to me. However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.
Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas. Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions that take place after 6 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. 6 weeks. Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant by then. And so, before they have the time to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human into the world, the decision has been made for them by a stranger. A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.
I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Every girl here does. We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant. I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.
And I’m talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring the students’ efforts in twelve years of schooling, on a day where we’re all brought together, on a day where you will be the most inclined to hear a voice like mine, a woman’s voice, to tell you that this is a problem. A problem that can’t wait. I refuse to give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters.
We cannot stay silent.”
She received a tremendous amount of praise, including that from Hilary Clinton (through her official Twitter account).
This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton. https://t.co/DlwEgmMRGN
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 2, 2021
Ironically, pro-abortion extremist Ted Cruz recently took a stand on his body / his rights in discussing COVID Vaccines, even though people who become carriers of the virus can affect and even cause the deaths of others.
Your health decisions are yours to make.
It shouldn’t be your boss, the government, or anyone else forcing you to make those decisions. pic.twitter.com/ur2dbvBaPr
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) May 28, 2021
The irony was not lost among many.
- @ShelKel2 replying to @SenTedCruz: “Thank you for being pro-choice. It’s about time you realized that those decisions are to be made by a patient and their dr.
- @LizabellaBella replying to @SenTedCruz: Welcome to the Pro-Choice movement Ted. If you think government shouldn’t have control over your body regarding vaccines then same goes for government having control over women’s reproductive rights. #prochoice
- @Quicklitning replying to @SenTedCruz: “In a stunning reversal, Senator Ted Cruz comes out as supporting “a woman’s right to choose” when it comes to her body & healthcare. Someone put a #prochoice sign on his lawn.”
- @CoffeeForever5 replying to @SenTedCruz: Thanks for clarifying that you strongly support a woman’s right to choose what is best for her health and well-being. #TedCruzIsProChoice”
But we all know what he means is that his male rights are irrevocable, and this is outside of a woman’s right to govern her own body.
Tip of the SPN hat to Paxton Smith.