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Valedictorian who went viral for speech on Texas abortion law to attend UT

Paxton Smith says she plans to study music business.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas graduating senior who recently went viral after swapping out her valedictorian speech to target the state's new abortion law is now heading for Austin.

Paxton Smith, who recently graduated from Lake Highlands High School in Richardson, confirmed she will be attending the University of Texas to study music business or music production.

Referred to as the "heartbeat bill," the new law bans abortion after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.

“My mind just kept on going in a loop about the heartbeat bill and how upset I was about it,” Smith said. 

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She said she told her parents before swapping out the speech, which has now been viewed millions of times. Smith said they were mostly supportive but shared some of her nervousness. 

"I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is. I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you,” Smith said in the speech.

“This is a problem, a problem that can’t wait,” the speech continued. “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. A war on the rights of your mother, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent.”

WFAA's William Joy attributed to this report.

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