Recent laws restricting reproductive rights have sparked controversy and debate within in the music world and beyond.
Last week, Kay Ivey, Republican governor of Alabama, signed a bill that disallows abortion for virtually all women in the state, including those who were impregnated due to rape or incest.
Alabama joined states with similar constrictive legislation, or “heartbeat” bills such as those passed in Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi and Missouri that outlaw abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs before many women are aware of their pregnancies.
These bills and laws are designed to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that granted women the right to legal and safe abortions.
From utilizing their platforms on social media to donating earnings to women’s rights organizations, a number of politically conscious musicians have joined others to promote reproductive rights since news of the new laws broke.
Musicians such as Lizzo, Rihanna and Lady Gaga took to Twitter to voice their outrage on the new legislation that prevents women from making personal choices.
Lizzo’s tweet referenced The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel set in futuristic America where women are legal property. She conveyed that these recent anti-abortion laws echo elements of the novel and slavery, where women were entrapped without choices.
This is how The Handmaid’s Tale started. It’s shit like this and we gon look up and be enslaved again y’all — stay vigilant because this is terrifying https://t.co/o7MgwFvab9— |L I Z Z O| (@lizzo) May 15, 2019
Rihanna’s tweet depicted a grid displaying the 25 Republican white men who dominate the state’s senate and advocated for the anti-choice legislation.
take a look. these are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America. Governor Kay Ivey…SHAME ON YOU!!!! pic.twitter.com/WuAjSVv6TH— Rihanna (@rihanna) May 16, 2019
Lady Gaga mentioned doctors and abortion providers in her tweet, who under Alabama’s law would be imprisoned longer for performing abortions than rapists in more violent cases.
Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) May 15, 2019
Musicians such as Kacey Musgraves, Janelle Monáe, Dua Lipa, Charli XCX and Pussy Riot have shared similar sentiments in expressing their disapproval of Alabama’s anti-choice law.
Various artists have also chosen to donate to women’s rights and reproductive rights organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Alabama’s Yellowhammer Fund, which raises and donates funds to those in Alabama’s three abortion clinics for them to receive healthcare.
Maggie Rogers raised $17,500 from merchandise sales on her online store and donated the profits to Yellowhammer Fund, as shown in her Instagram post below.
A post shared by Maggie Rogers; (@maggierogers) on
While performing onstage at the Hangout Musical Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., Travis Scott announced he would donate profits from merchandise sales that night to Planned Parenthood, as seen in a video taken by a fan.
A post shared by Travis Scott; (@travisscott_is_laflame) on
The three record labels that make up the Secretly Group family and music publisher, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans and Secretly Canadian, all announced that they would donate profits from digital Bandcamp sales of their artists’ music over this past weekend to the Yellowhammer Fund.
Notable Jagjaguwar signee Bon Iver posted the label’s message on the band’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Lead singer and principal songwriter Justin Vernon also tweeted on his personal account, urging fans to donate.
In light of the recent wave of laws restricting abortions throughout the US, our friends at @secretlycanadian will be donating the label’s share of all digital sales from Bandcamp to @yellowfund from now through 11:59pm EST on Sunday, May 19th. Visit the link in Secretly’s bio to shop their Bandcamp or donate directly to the Yellowhammer Fund.
A post shared by Bon Iver; (@boniver) on
The Yellowhammer Fund – donate now. Support freedom of choice and safety! https://t.co/XSsKIdD7Cm— blobtower (@blobtower) May 17, 2019
Comedian and musician Tim Heidecker, also a Jagjaguwar artist, shared a song called “To the Men” last week, with all proceeds from Bandcamp downloads of the track benefitting the Yellowhammer Fund.
Hi. I have a new one about the new insane abortion laws. it’s very sad. https://t.co/v5J8TCQu8t— Tim Heidecker (@timheidecker) May 16, 2019
Indie singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly, a Secretly Canadian signee, also shared her label’s message to her personal Instagram account. Underneath the post, she mentioned the fight for reproductive rights in her native Australia while in conversation with a fan.
In light of recent wave of laws restricting abortions throughout the US, Secretly Canadian will be donating the label’s share of all digital sales from Bandcamp to the @yellowfund from now through 11:59pm EST on Sunday, May 19th.
A post shared by Stella Donnelly; (@stelladonnelly) on
Independent record labels Father/Daughter, based in San Francisco, and Disposable America, based in Allston, Mass., tweeted that they would also donate proceeds to the Yellowhammer Fund and other reproductive rights organizations.
Access to a safe abortion is a human right. We will be donating 100% of digital and 50% of all physical sales to the National Network of @AbortionFunds.https://t.co/iQ99gy2JlHhttps://t.co/4O2O7VnNYypic.twitter.com/uWXrKVD8OL— DISPOSABLE AMERICA (@disposable_usa) May 17, 2019
Legendary folk singer-songwriter John Prine announced via his record label Oh Boy Records’s Twitter that all profits from his signed and rare releases sales would be donated to the ACLU of Alabama.
Sold Out- both test pressing have been sold, thank you for helping us raise $1000! We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool stuff from the vault https://t.co/lG6CeIO5qB— Oh Boy Records (@ohboyrecords) May 16, 2019
Prine also recorded a song with country singer Margo Price in an effort to support reproductive freedom. The ACLU has since announced that they will combat the new Alabama law in court.
@JohnPrineMusic and I recorded a special version of “Unwed Fathers” yesterday, (release date TBD) and are donating the proceeds to the @ACLU. Alabama is stripping away women’s rights and we won’t stand for it. #keepyourlawsoffmybody#AlabamaAbortionBanhttps://t.co/SuxJxs8Kok— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) May 17, 2019
As more proposed laws across the U.S. aim to control the rights, choices, freedom and possibilities for those who pursue abortions, many musicians and artists have used social media to support what Roe vs. Wade protects.
Through donations and fundraisers to pro-choice organizations, creators both mainstream and independent have taken concrete actions to help women, nonbinary and transgender citizens who seek abortions and healthcare nationwide.