A Texas high schooler tasked with delivering the valedictorian address at her graduation ceremony ditched her school-approved speech and used her platform to take down her state's new abortion ban last weekend...
And people have been left in awe over her bravery and determination to try and make a difference.
Now, we all know that the topic of abortion is a sensitive one.
Abortion has long been known as a somewhat “taboo" topic, with women historically being forced to risk their lives in order to terminate their unwanted pregnancies.
The Roe V. Wade legal case marked a revolution that saved many women's lives by affirming that a woman's access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional human right.
But the right to an abortion has been dealt a heavy blow in recent years.
Here in the U.S. the right to safe and legal abortion has been the law of the land for more than forty-five years and is a part of the fabric of this country.
However, Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to our right to access safe, legal abortion. Kavanaugh was nominated by former president Donald Trump, who had previously made a clear promise to nominate judges who would “automatically" overturn Roe v. Wade.
And, of course, the Alabama abortion ban sparked huge outrage and controversy.
On May 14th, 2019, Alabama legislators passed a bill banning abortions which triggered an outcry across the world, with millions standing forward in support of women's rights.
Republican, Governor Kay Ivey, said after signing the bill: "The bill stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God."
4 other states have since imposed a similar bill...
It can often feel as though we're going backward...
Because there are still so many people who don't think women deserve the right to a safe abortion.
These people are a huge part of the pro-life movement.
Pro-lifers believe that whether you are a preborn baby, a newborn, an elderly person, or someone with disabilities and special needs, your life matters.
The pro-life movement is supposedly about the value and equality of all human beings and it strongly opposes abortion.
Well, the state of Texas has very recently passed a bill that is certainly in favor of the pro-life movement.
On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the "heartbeat bill" that would prohibit in Texas abortions as early as 6 weeks — before some women even know they are pregnant — and opened the door for almost any private citizen to sue abortion providers and others.
"Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion," Abbott said in the bill signing ceremony.
The Legislature "worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I'm about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion."
The signing of the bill, according to the Texas Tribune, opens a new frontier in the battle over abortion restrictions as first-of-its-kind legal provisions are poised to be tested in the courts.
Texas recently passed a bill that will make abortions after 6 weeks illegal. That’s one missed period. These women won’t be able to make their own health decisions. Texas will literally be forcing them to keep their pregnancies. https://t.co/K3dW45ugNL— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) May 30, 2021
Abortion rights advocates have promised to challenge the new law, which they consider one of the most extreme nationwide and the strictest in Texas since the Roe v. Wade decision
Of course, social media has been rife with people ferociously opposing the bill...
I can’t deal with the fact that abortion after 6 weeks is now illegal in Texas. We need to move forward! You don’t even know you’re pregnant at 6 weeks. I feel trapped living in a state that decides over my body and my choices to do tf I want 😡🤬— Isabel (@isawrites) May 27, 2021
And women have been angrily pointing out how the bill will be taking control over women's bodies and their own personal decisions.
And this includes recent high school graduate Paxton Smith.
Smith attended her high school graduation at Dallas' Lake Highlands High School earlier this week and she was required to deliver the valedictorian address; but instead of using her school-approved speech, she decided to deliver a much more powerful one about the recent abortion bill.
And people have been left in total and complete awe.
That woman has more courage than every single woman in the Republican Party. Combined.— David Dickinson (@DGDjr) June 2, 2021
Shame on the ‘United’ States of America for passing the most ridiculously cruel, demeaning, barbaric, archaic , vile abortion laws in the first place. She should never had had to make this speech in the first place. However her parents should be so proud that she did.— Sarah (@sarah__mccabe) June 2, 2021
This is exactly what our country needs. Strong women speaking their minds. Strong women supporting all women from all walks of life. The courage of this generation is inspiring.— Southern Mimi (@KarenR_Tn) June 2, 2021
She will be a leader in her life! Bless her and the people who know her! ❤️❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— merVoteBlue (@merVoteBlue) June 2, 2021
That took some guts to do in the ruby red state of Texas. This girl has a future and I’m here for it! 👏👏👏— Susan A (@SusanAndreini) June 2, 2021
This young woman deserves our praise and thanks. So do her parents who raised a child to become a responsible, compassionate adult.— Persistent-One who aims to misbehave (@PersistentOne3) June 2, 2021
My dream is that one day, ALL young women are empowered to speak out against gov’t overreach and social injustice.
She rocks. The fact that a group of white old men who don't know how it feels to give birth or for that matter the changes a women's body goes through on a daily basis have the audacity to tells us what we can do with our bodies.— lisa (@poohlpj) June 2, 2021
After getting the OK from her parents to proceed with a vastly different speech than the one that was approved by her school administrators...
The ambitious young woman had practiced her new address until she'd nearly memorized it ahead of the ceremony.
"It feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state," Smith said as she pulled a copy of her new speech from her graduation robe.
"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," she valiantly said.
"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."
"Recently, the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas."
"Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of r*pe or incest," she explained.
"6 weeks! That's all women get. So before they have a chance 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 have the responsibility to bring another human being into the world, that decision is made for them by a stranger."
She then said:
"I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I'm r*ped, 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."
You can watch Smith's full speech here:
And we hope her powerful words will resonate with the powerful figures who have just stripped so many women of the rights to their own bodies.