In early May, leaked documents showed that the US Supreme Court voted privately to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 case that made abortion legal on a federal level. That decision was officially ruled into place yesterday (June 24), meaning US states will be able to set their own laws regarding the legality of abortions.
As Politico reports, 23 states are expected to make abortion illegal – at the time of writing, five already have, and a further 11 are in the process of finalising anti-abortion laws.
Taking to the John Peel Stage last night – just hours after the ruling was confirmed – Bridgers told her Glastonbury crowd: “This is my first time here and, honestly, it’s super surreal and fun, but I’m having the shittiest day.” An outspoken advocate of abortion rights, the frustrated singer-songwriter asked if any Americans were among her crowd, before instructing them to chant, “Fuck the Supreme Court!”
Following the chant, Bridgers continued: “Fuck that shit. Fuck America. Like, fuck you. All these irrelevant, old motherfuckers trying to tell us what to do with our fucking bodies… Ugh. I don’t know, fuck it, whatever.”
Watch footage of the moment below:
“All these irrelevant old motherfuckers trying to tell us what to do with our fucking bodies”. @phoebe_bridgers calls out the US Supreme Court on stage at Glastonbury. She had an abortion last year. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/cKBNZdhhNr
— Dino Sofos (@dinosofos) June 24, 2022
Bridgers was among a handful of artists addressing the Roe v. Wade overturning at Glastonbury. IDLES’ Joe Talbot, for example, dedicated ‘Mother’ to “every mother and every woman and her right to choose whether she is a mother or not”.
During Billie Eilish‘s set, she pre-empted an acoustic rendition of ‘Your Power’ by explaining that the song is “about the concept of power and how we always need to remember not to abuse it”. She continued: “Today is a really really dark day for women in the US. And I’m just going to say that because I can’t bear to think about it anymore in this moment.”
When the aforementioned documents were leaked in May, Bridgers responded with a candid post discussing her own abortion experience. Revealing that she had an abortion while on tour last October, the singer-songwriter explained: “I went to planned parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access.”
In a new interview with The Guardian, Bridgers said she was surprised by the public reaction her post received. She told the paper: “I’ve always found comfort in talking to people in passing – when someone’s mom says: ‘I had an abortion when I was a teen.’ It normalised it for me. I was, ‘All right, it’s time to throw my hat into that pool.’ That’s not a phrase, I just made that up. But I didn’t think about it, really, at all.”
Bridgers went on to explain her intention in sharing her experience, being to make it clear that “as a white, upper-middle-class woman from California, even if it were to be overturned, I will always have access”. She continued: “I have a friend who went to medical school – every time I need a doctor, I say, ‘Do you have someone that you recommend?’ So I would just go: ‘Hey, where do I go for the thing? Wink-wink.’
“The people with access will always have access. What pisses me off is that we’re not talking about me. It’s so easy: I played in Texas the same week, and then I went home and was like: oh my God. Made the appointment. It was 12 hours of my life.”
Bridgers also addressed the trend of well-meaning fans mislabelling her experience on her behalf: “[There were] people with good intentions saying: ‘Don’t say it was easy for you to make that decision – it was clearly really emotional.’ And I wasn’t fucking emotional at all. Hormonally crazy! But I don’t think you should assign ‘it tore me up’ to me. No! I don’t think about it as a baby, of course not.”
In addition to her vocal support, Bridgers’ activism for abortion rights includes the donation of $1 from every ticket bought to her current tour, which will go towards an organisation helping undocumented people in the US access safe abortions.
Over the last day, dozens of artists have spoken out against the official overturning of Roe v. Wade. Lizzo is another who is supporting abortion rights via monetary contributions, partnering with Live Nation – who are presenting her upcoming ‘Special’ tour – to donate $1million (£815,000) in funds to organisations offering safe access to abortions.
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