John Oliver has strongly criticised the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last week in a new segment on his show.
Following the leaking of a draft opinion last month, it was confirmed on Friday (June 24) that the landmark case had been overturned, which means that abortion will no longer be protected as a federal right for the first time since 1973, with each state able to decide individually whether to restrict or ban abortion.
Speaking on Last Week Tonight yesterday (June 26), Oliver called the decision “absolutely horrifying”, adding: “It is hard to stomach some of the gleeful responses right now. You don’t get a holiday to celebrate the loss of rights for millions of people when you already have one, and it’s called Columbus Day.”
The presenter noted: “Even when planned, pregnancy is, best cast scenario, a major medical event that rips open your butt, rips out your organs and then puts them in wrong.”
He added: “The idea that you can simply seek another abortion in another state is insulting on its face even before you consider that some lawmakers are already openly looking for ways to punish out-of-state abortions.”
Oliver also suggested that the US was now in “uncharted territory” rather than the days before Roe v. Wade, notably given that any loss of pregnancy could be investigated as a criminal act in states where abortion is banned, with access to electronic data not available before 1973.
“What the Supreme Court has just done is utterly devastating,” he said. “The message that the Supreme Court sends is pretty clear: We don’t care if pregnancy kills you, we don’t care if you don’t want to be pregnant, we don’t care about you at all.”
He also criticised the response of pro-choice politicians, joking: “When they go low, we ask for $15.”
Oliver previously hit out at the court following the leak last month, saying at the time: “We may now also need to shore up other rights supposedly guaranteed by Supreme Court rulings, from voting rights to gay marriage, because the fact is, under the current Supreme Court, your basic rights today could become crimes tomorrow.”
Since the news emerged, a number of musicians have hit out at the decision, including Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam. Many acts performing at Glastonbury also responded to the news, including Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers – who lead a chant of “fuck the Supreme Court” – and headliner Billie Eilish.
Olivia Rodrigo also brought out Lily Allen to sing a rendition of the latter’s song ‘Fuck You’, after giving a speech dedicating the song to five Supreme Court justices, while Kendrick Lamar chanted “godspeed for women’s rights” in the wake of the decision.