NBC Hails High School Valedictorian’s Pro-Abortion Tirade

After arguing weeks earlier that a new pro-life measure in Texas was a “public health threat,” on Thursday, NBC’s Today show hailed a high school valedictorian in the state for using her graduation speech to launch into a pro-abortion tirade trashing the law. While the policy protecting unborn children was labeled “controversial” in the report, the student’s nasty political screed was touted as a “powerful” address greeted with “positive reaction.”

“Plus, a high school valedictorian goes off script in the middle of her pre-approved speech to deliver a powerful and unexpected message,” co-host Hoda Kotb teased early in the show. Teasing the upcoming story again minutes later, fellow co-host Craig Melvin touted the teenager “ditching her approved script to address an issue that she’s really passionate about.”

In the report that followed in the 7:30 a.m. ET half hour, correspondent Erin McLaughlin gushed: “This morning, a commencement speech going viral for going very off script, a high school student making the dramatic choice to switch out her pre-approved speech for a fiery political message.” The reporter cheered: “Eighteen-year-old valedictorian Paxton Smith taking the stage at Lake Highlands High School Sunday….using her three minutes at the podium to take a stand against Texas’s new so-called heartbeat abortion bill.”

Soundbites played of Smith ranting:

In light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state….I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body, and a war on my rights. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter.

McLaughlin fretted over the law: “The bill, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott last month, bans abortions in most cases where a fetal heartbeat is detected, potentially as early as six weeks into pregnancy….The controversial law also permits almost anyone to sue any person or provider who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit.”

Not one word of criticism regarding Smith’s incendiary rhetoric was included, it was all praise: “Smith, who only told her parents about what she had planned, says she was shocked by the positive reaction from the room and beyond. Hillary Clinton tweeting, ‘This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton.’”

If you’re a radical leftist, you get instant adulation from the media and tweets of encouragement from Hillary Clinton. If a conservative student stood up to support the law, they would likely be ignored or attacked.

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Here is a full transcript of the June 3 segment:

7:20 AM ET TEASE

HODA KOTB: Plus, a high school valedictorian goes off script in the middle of her pre-approved speech to deliver a powerful and unexpected message. We’ll hear about her decision and the reaction she’s getting.

7:36 AM ET TEASE

CRAIG MELVIN: When we come back on this Thursday, the high school valedictorian getting a little bit of added attention for her graduation speech after ditching her approved script to address an issue that she’s really passionate about.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Her message and the reaction to it, coming up right after this.

7:41 AM ET SEGMENT

HODA KOTB: We’re back, 7:41, with In-Depth Today. This morning, the spotlight on a very surprising commencement speech.

CRAIG MELVIN: Yeah, a Dallas high school valedictorian decided to go off script to take a stand against the recently passed heartbeat ban abortion law in Texas.

GUTHRIE: NBC’s Erin McLaughlin spoke with her. Erin, good morning.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN: Good morning, guys. Eighteen-year-old Paxton Smith says she knew she was taking a big risk when she stepped on that stage on Sunday. Only her parents knew about her surprise speech. She says the response has been overwhelming.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Valedictorian Goes Off Script]

PAXTON SMITH: As we leave high school, we need to make our voices heard.

MCLAUGHLIN: This morning, a commencement speech going viral for going very off script, a high school student making the dramatic choice to switch out her pre-approved speech for a fiery political message. Eighteen-year-old valedictorian Paxton Smith taking the stage at Lake Highlands High School Sunday, where the school thought she’d take about television and the media.

SMITH: In light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

MCLAUGHLIN: Instead, using her three minutes at the podium to take a stand against Texas’s new so-called heartbeat abortion bill.

SMITH: I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body, and a war on my rights. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter.

MCLAUGHLIN: The bill, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott last month, bans abortions in most cases where a fetal heartbeat is detected, potentially as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT [R-TX]: Millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion.

MCLAUGHLIN: The controversial law also permits almost anyone to sue any person or provider who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit.

Did you have any doubts going into the ceremony?

SMITH: I felt like ultimately there was no better group of people that I could talk to because I knew that in that audience there were people who were going to disagree with what I had to say.

MCLAUGHLIN: Smith, who only told her parents about what she had planned, says she was shocked by the positive reaction from the room and beyond. Hillary Clinton tweeting, “This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton.”

What is your message to future valedictorians?  

MCLAUGHLIN: Take advantage of the platform. Say what you want to say, and say what you feel.

MCLAUGHLIN: Paxton’s parents say they couldn’t be prouder of her speech. She plans to attend UT Austin in the fall, where she might study music business. Guys?

GUTHRIE: Alright, Erin, thank you very much.

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