A Texas high school valedictorian who used her platform to promote a pro-abortion message to her classmates and their parents is receiving praise from celebrities and progressive politicians.
On Sunday, Lake Highlands High School valedictorian Paxton Smith swapped her original graduation ceremony speech out for a new speech highlighting the “war” on abortion rights in the United States. According to a glowing profile of Smith in D Magazine, the speech she submitted to the school was about the media and “how much of it she consumes and how that consumption has shaped the way she sees the world.”
On May 19, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed an abortion law that will prohibit Texas clinics from performing or inducing abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The bills are known nationally as “heartbeat bills.”
Following the passage of the heartbeat bill, Smith opted to change her speech to reflect her feelings on abortion. She claimed that the bill was “dehumanizing” and took away her bodily autonomy.
In Texas, Lake Highlands High School valedictorian, Paxton Smith, switched out her approved speech to talk about abortion rights. pic.twitter.com/4xsoHARDSs
— Kolleen (@littlewhitty) June 2, 2021
I have dreams and hopes and ambitions. Every girl graduating today does. And we have spent our entire lives working towards our future, and without our input, and without our consent, our control over that future has been stripped away from us.
I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter. I hope that you can feel how gut-wrenching that is. I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is to have the autonomy over your own body taken away from you.
I cannot 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 mothers. A war on the rights of your sisters. A war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent.
The speech was praised by a slew of pro-abortion activists and politicians including Hillary Clinton, a former proponent of “safe, rare, and legal” abortions.
“This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton,” Clinton tweeted.
This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton. https://t.co/DlwEgmMRGN
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 2, 2021
Failed Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke applauded Smith for refusing “to accept injustice.”
“Paxton, thank you for having the courage of your convictions and inspiring Texas with your refusal to accept injustice as the price of participation in civic life,” O’Rourke said. “May we all use our place in this democracy to fight for what we believe to be right and follow your example!”
Paxton, thank you for having the courage of your convictions and inspiring Texas with your refusal to accept injustice as the price of participation in civic life.
May we all use our place in this democracy to fight for what we believe to be right and follow your example! https://t.co/PS3ZR80Gl7
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 2, 2021
Alleged “journalist” Kara Swisher and contributing editor to Vanity Fair Franklin Leonard also applauded Smith. Swisher called Smith “an amazing woman.”
What an amazing woman https://t.co/xu2mIfXpEG
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) June 2, 2021
Wrote two whole speeches so she could pull off the switch.
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) June 2, 2021
The valedictorian received praise from comedian Sarah Silverman and author Jodi Picoult as well. Silverman dubbed the speech “brave,” while Picoult said that Smith spoke with “courage, integrity, and intelligence.”
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 2, 2021
— Jodi Picoult (@jodipicoult) June 2, 2021