A Texas high school valedictorian recently gave an unapproved speech at her graduation ceremony criticizing recent abortion restrictions passed in the state.
The speaker, Paxton Smith, had originally planned to speak to attendees of Lake Highlands High School’s graduation about the role of media in the world but decided to change it, unbeknownst to school administrators.
As The Daily Wire reported, after Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed an abortion law that will prohibit Texas clinics from performing or inducing abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, Smith chose to change the focus of her speech. During her speech, she claimed that the “heartbeat bill,” as such legislation is often called, was de-humanizing and deprived her of bodily autonomy.
She went on to say that the bill would negatively impact the “dreams and hopes and ambitions” of women in Texas. “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.”
She added that she is “terrified” that if her contraceptives don’t work, or if she is “raped,” then her “hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts” for her 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,” she continued.
Smith went on to claim that there is a “war” on her body and her 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,” she said.
Essentially, Smith argued that the ability to take away an unborn child’s life — once a heartbeat is detected — is the only way that she will be able to accomplish her dreams.
Celebrities and politicians took to social media to praise Smith for her actions, declaring it brave of her to use the speech to supposedly push for her rights.
Hillary Clinton shared the news of the speech, writing on Twitter, “This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton.”
This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton. https://t.co/DlwEgmMRGN
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 2, 2021
Former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke thanked Smith for her “refusal 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
As pro-life bills are passed in states around the country, the type of rhetoric Smith portrayed in her speech will only increase. Celebrities and politicians who celebrate a young woman’s decision to vehemently speak out against a bill which protects unborn children are promoting a world and a culture of fear.
The main response to declarations such as these should be a feeling of pity and sadness. It should be upsetting that she thinks her life would be ruined if she were to experience an unplanned pregnancy, and it’s especially disheartening that our culture not only allows her to feel this way, but celebrates and encourages it.
A sense of panic is gripping the pro-choice movement. Young women are afraid of the possibility of getting pregnant and not having the option of abortion and the pro-choice movement is consistently fomenting that fear. Abortion advocates fan the flame of panic and distress that so many young women — Paxton Smith included — experience.
Abortion is fueled by fear. If women are afraid of becoming pregnant, then abortion will always be necessary. The saddest part of Smith’s speech is her declaration that her aspirations will “no longer matter” if she becomes pregnant.
The question comes to mind: Who told Smith that this was the case? Who made this young woman believe that her dreams would no longer matter if she unexpectedly became a mother?
The answer is clear: the abortion culture. This fact should give any pro-life activist a righteous anger directed towards the voices whispering this lie to women — and it should give that same activist compassion for the young girl that has no choice but to listen to the lie in a loud and unrelenting “shout-your-abortion” culture.
Right-to-life advocates might see real legislative success in the coming years, but they should remember the biggest challenge: replacing fear of a deterred future with confidence and support.
The pro-life movement has always been one of compassion even when it hasn’t gotten credit for it. It should be sure to remain that way.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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