American students’ speeches calling for reproductive rights go viral | Education News

American student Paxton Smith canceled the graduation speech approved by her school administrators and instead issued a call for abortion rights in a message that went viral on social media.

Smith is the 2021 farewell speaker at Lake Heights High School in Texas, USA. He presented to school officials a speech on the influence of the media on the thinking of young people.

However, when she spoke at the graduation ceremony on Sunday, she talked about her so-called body and the “power battle” of other girls and women in a “heartbeat” way. Bill“, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the end of last month.

“When there is a war between my body and my rights, I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace. A war on the rights of your mother, a war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your daughters. We can’t. Keep silent,” she told her class.

The new law prohibits any abortion being detected after the first heartbeat, but there are no exceptions. This may appear as early as six weeks after conception, when many women may not know that they are pregnant.

The law also allows anyone to sue abortion providers in Texas or anyone who helps abortions for up to $10,000.

The law will go into effect on September 1, but Federal Court Mainly to prevent states from implementing similar measures. Abortion rights advocates are expected to challenge the law, arguing that the measure is actually a total ban on abortion.

Abortion rights activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

“I have dreams, hopes and ambitions, and every girl who graduates today has them,” Smith said. “We have been working for our future all our lives. Without our input and our consent, our control over the future will be deprived.”

Although the bill provides for exceptions to medical emergencies, it does not exempt pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

“I am afraid. If my contraceptive measures fail, I am afraid that if I am raped, then my hopes, wishes, dreams and efforts for the future will no longer be important,” Smith said.

“I hope you can feel how painful it is,” she said, “I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is to be deprived of your body’s autonomy.”

Smith, who plans to study music business at the University of Texas at Austin, said on Wednesday that she had submitted her original speech to school officials and was trying to complete a year-end project in the school’s music room. Decided to cancel that speech.

“I can’t focus on this project. My mind has been wandering about the “heartbeat bill” and its meaning. So, I started to take some notes,” she told the Associated Press.

Smith said she wanted her microphone to be cut off or her diploma withheld-neither happened. She also said that she was shocked by the response to the information.

“I thought it would die there,” she said. But she saw the audience burst into tears halfway through the speech.

In the following days, her video posted on social media and widely reposted won praise from comedian Sarah Silverman and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton , The latter wrote on Twitter: “This is so courageous. Thank you for not keeping silent, Paxton.”

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke from Texas wrote on Twitter: “Paxton, thank you for bravely holding on to your beliefs and for encouraging you to refuse to accept injustice as the price of participating in civic life. Texas.”

The Richardson Independent School District, where Highland Lake is located, is less enthusiastic. In a statement, it stated that it will review student speech agreements before next year’s graduation ceremony.

“The information content of each student speaker is the private and voluntary expression of an individual student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position or expression of the school district or its staff,” it said.

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