Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised a teenager Wednesday for secretly switching her valedictorian speech in order to criticize a new Texas law banning abortions after an unborn baby has a heartbeat.
The former First Lady tweeted her support for Lake Highlands High School valedictorian Paxton Smith, who pulled an unapproved valedictorian speech from her bra at the lectern on graduation day and delivered a speech about Texas’s Heartbeat Act.
“This took guts,” Clinton tweeted. “Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton.”
The new Texas law bans abortions after the unborn baby has a heartbeat. By the end of the fourth week of pregnancy, according to the Cleveland Clinic, the unborn baby’s tiny heart tube will beat about 65 times a minute, and a heartbeat can be detected by about six weeks.
“Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant by six weeks,” Smith said. “And 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 can take on the responsibility of bringing another human being into the world, tate decision has been made for them by a stranger. A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.”
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“I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions,” she continued. “Every girl graduating today does. 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, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and aspirations and efforts and dreams for my future will no longer matter,” she said. “I hope 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 from you.”
The high school graduate concluded by saying, “We cannot stay silent.”
Lake Highlands High School did not immediately respond to a request for comment.