The valedictorian of a Texas high school went viral earlier this year after she gave a speech blasting a pro-life bill that had been recently passed in the state.
On Wednesday, the valedictorian, Paxton Smith, who is now attending the University of Texas, spoke to CNN about Texas’ pro-life law that took effect the same day.
“It’s very sad to see, and it is so heart-wrenching that so many people in Texas have had a fundamental human right taken away from them today,” Smith said.
“I’m very upset that this law has been able to go into effect, and I know a lot of people share that sentiment and the idea that if we do face ourselves with an unplanned pregnancy then that life-changing decision … is no longer up to us.”
“I think a lot of times some of the most important voices in the issue are not listened to,” Smith said. “It deeply affects every person differently and very personally … and I think that’s something that needed to be talked about.”
As The Daily Wire reported, Texas’ new “heartbeat bill” took effect on Wednesday, effectively banning most abortions after six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The law went into effect Wednesday morning “after both the Supreme Court and a lower federal court of appeals refused to rule on a demand from Texas abortion providers to stay the law pending further litigation,” The Daily Wire noted.
“A controversial Texas law that bars abortions at six weeks went into effect early Wednesday morning after the Supreme Court and a federal appeals court failed to rule on pending emergency requests brought by abortion providers,” CNN reported. “The lack of judicial intervention means that the law — which is one of the strictest in the nation and bans abortion before many people know they are pregnant — goes into force absent further court intervention.”
“CNN also pointed out that other ‘heartbeat bills’ have been stayed before they were allowed to go into effect, making the Texas law an interesting exception. But the Supreme Court is not alone in refusing to rule on the stay; a lower federal court also refused to block the law because, unlike other ‘heartbeat’ laws, the Texas measure authorizes civil — not criminal penalties,” The Daily Wire added.
“In the novel legal strategy, the state Legislature designed the law to prevent government officials from directly enforcing it. The move was meant to make it much more difficult to bring a pre-enforcement challenge because there are not the usual government officials to hold accountable in court,” CNN added. “Instead, the law allows private citizens — anywhere in the country — to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the ban.”
“The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants,” The New York Times reported. “Plaintiffs, who need not have any connection to the matter or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Prevailing defendants are not entitled to legal fees.”
As The Daily Wire reported in June:
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.”
In Smith’s speech, she said:
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.