John Oliver has criticised the leaked draft of a US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on his Last Week Tonight show.
Last week, the draft decision was made public – though draft opinions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, so the court’s decision is not final. However, if the overturning goes through, it would make the legality of abortion in the US the decision of each individual state, and not federal law.
During last night’s (May 8) edition of his show, Oliver noted data that showed 25 per cent of women have had an abortion, six in 10 of who are already mothers.
The presenter said: “Some who get abortions are survivors of rape or incest, others might need one for medical reasons, but also just to be clear, some will be seeking an abortion because they fucking want one, and this is very much about them, too. This is a fight for people’s right to have control over their bodies. It’s about bodily autonomy.”
He then showed a clip of a woman in Texas who was told at six weeks and a day into a pregnancy that she couldn’t get an abortion in the state, the woman revealing that birth control had failed and she was not ready to have another child as she was already raising two on her own.
“Six weeks and a day, and she can’t get an abortion,” Oliver continued. “For most people, that is a period that is two weeks late, and your period can be two weeks late for any number of reasons.
“Maybe you’re tired or travelling or you had a change in diet or exercise, or maybe you’re just dealing with the stress of living in a misogynistic theocracy run by five of the biggest weirdos in the country,” he added, posting a compilation of the five right-leaning justices on the Supreme Court.
Alongside Republicans, Oliver was also critical of Democrats, drawing upon the examples of former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, notably the latter’s initial campaign pledge to support the Freedom of Choice Act, which would enshrine the right to abortion into law, before sharing a clip showing Obama saying it wasn’t a high priority for him.
“Stop tiptoeing around the issue of abortion and take steps to properly safeguard it,” Oliver said. “The dream version of this would be a constitutional amendment that would support people’s fundamental rights to make personal decisions about contraception, pregnancy, marriage and family life. But until then, we’re going to need other legislation at the state and federal level.”
He then warned: “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 Roe v. Wade news emerged last week, a number of people in the music industry have spoken out, including Rage Against The Machine, Halsey, Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo, Arcade Fire and Phoebe Bridgers, the latter of whom shared her own experience and encouraged fans to donate to a list of abortion funds.
“I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour,” she said on Twitter. “I went to planned parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access.”
The singer has also pledged a number of proceeds from her forthcoming North American tour to an abortion charity.
The New York Times has also changed today’s (May 9) Wordle answer from “fetus”, the publication saying it was “outdated” and “closely connected to a major recent news event”, before claiming that it was “entirely unintentional and a coincidence,” as the answer was added last year.