One teenager called the decision of the US state of Texas to ban abortion after six weeks as “heartbreaking”, “dehumanizing” and a “war” against women’s rights. He did it in a state high school graduation speech that went viral.
Paxton Smith, the top student in her class at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, had given a different speech to the school principals to get the go-ahead.
But in the video of her speech, posted online, she said she decided to talk about abortion because graduation is a day when people are “more willing to hear a voice like mine, a woman’s voice.”
“I have dreams, hopes and ambitions. All the girls graduating today have them. We have spent our entire lives working for our future, and without our opinion and without our consent our control over that future is taken away from us, ”he said to the cheers of those present.
“I hope you can feel how heartbreaking it is, I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is to have your autonomy taken away from your own body.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill on May 20 to ban abortion from six weeks, a limit that reproductive rights activists warn will make many women unable to opt for the procedure because many women they don’t even know they are pregnant before 42 days of gestation.
The law, dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” by its advocates, does not provide for exceptions such as rape or incest, and will make Texas one of the hardest abortion states in the country.
“I cannot give up this platform to promote peace when there is a war against my body and against my rights. A war against the rights of their mothers, a war against the rights of their sisters, a war against the rights of their daughters, ”Smith told her class.
“We cannot remain silent.”
At least 10 other Republican-ruled states have passed legislation prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically around the sixth week of pregnancy.
All of these bills have been overturned by the courts because they violate Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that authorized abortion as long as the fetus cannot survive outside the womb, which occurs between 22 and 24 weeks.
Hillary Clinton praised the teenager’s attitude: “This took guts. Thanks for not keeping quiet, Paxton, ”Clinton tweeted.