Halsey has penned an essay to explain their stance on reproductive rights, opening up about whether the birth of their first son, Ender, impacted their perspective on the matter.
Halsey’s essay – published by Vogue on Friday (July 1) – comes in response to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court case that made abortion legal on a federal level. In early May, leaked documents showed that the US Supreme Court voted privately to overturn the ruling; their decision was officially enacted on June 24, meaning US states will be able to set their own laws regarding the legality of abortions.
Ender was born on July 14, 2021, after what Halsey described as “a beautiful labor”. They explained that they’d suffered three miscarriages before their 24th birthday, with one resulting in the need for a medical abortion to prevent them from going into sepsis. “It seemed a cruel irony that I could get pregnant with ease but struggled to maintain a pregnancy,” they wrote, noting that they were reminded of that experience while giving birth to Ender.
“There was the same sterile smell,” they continued. “The same white sheets and unnerving noises of beeping and commotion. But when Ender was born, the world went silent. My body, which I had loathed for years for routinely ‘failing,’ had done everything right. I shed a single tear in the exhaustion of post-labor. A tear of happiness that my body knew exactly what to do.
“My life’s long chapter of miscarriages and abortions was reduced to a page in that moment. It was simply divided into ‘before’ this moment and all things that would come after it. Years of blood and pain and misery from near-perilous and unwanted pregnancies, then the euphoria of chosen motherhood.”
Halsey went on to say, however, that the birth of Ender did not influence their stance on the opinion that every person with a uterus should have safe, legal and accessible access to abortion. “In fact, I have never felt more strongly about it,” they said. “My abortion saved my life and gave way for my son to have his.
“Every person deserves the right to choose when, if, and how they have this dangerous and life-altering experience. I will hold my son in one arm, and fight with all my might with the other.”
Halsey has long been vocal in their advocacy for reproductive rights. They’ve spoken candidly about their own challenges with reproductive healthcare, and addressed Roe v Wade several times before. During the first show of their current ‘Love And Power’ tour, for example, they screened a video sharing facts about the importance of safe access to abortions.
They screened a similar video in Phoenix last Sunday (June 26), and delivered a powerful speech about the need to be active during the political war on reproductive rights. That speech led to several fans walking out of Halsey’s concerts – something they responded to after the show, joking that the “downside of [performing in] outdoor venues [is that there’s] no door to hit them on the way out”.
When the aforementioned Supreme Court documents leaked in May, Halsey was among more than 150 artists to sign a petition against the proposed (and now official) ruling. “The overturning of Roe v Wade will mark a catastrophic shift in our fundamental rights to bodily autonomy and reproductive health care,” they wrote at the time. “We are constituents and we have the right and responsibility to fight this.”
Over the past week, hundreds of artists have spoken out against the official overturning of Roe v. Wade. Many did so during their sets at Glastonbury 2022, including IDLES, Billie Eilish, Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo, Jarvis Cocker, Phoebe Bridgers and Kendrick Lamar.