High school valedictorian scraps speech to rip Texas anti-abortion law

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A high school valedictorian in Texas went off script from her approved graduation speech to provide scathing commentary on the state’s new anti-abortion law. Paxton Smith’s address slamming the bill signed into law last month and calling for abortion rights has gone viral.

The Lake Highlands High School valedictorian had her speech on television and the media approved by school administrators prior to the graduation ceremony on Sunday. But when she was called to the podium, she said the unexpected.

‘It feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state,’ Smith said.

She criticized the ‘heartbeat bill’ that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed on May 19, calling it a ‘war on the rights’ of girls and women.

Paxton Smith, Lake Highlands High School valedictorian, poses for a photo

Lake Highlands High School valedictorian Paxton Smith scrapped a speech approved by her school administrators and instead delivered an abortion rights call in its place (Picture AP)

‘I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body and a war on my right,’ she said. ‘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 so-called heartbeat bill effectively bans all abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can happen as soon as six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant.

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