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Musicians react to Supreme Court decision on right to abortion

Megan Thee Stallion, performing at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, U.K. on Sat. June 25, 2022. During her set, Megan spoke out against the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Ben Birchall
PA Images via Getty Images
Megan Thee Stallion, performing at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, U.K. on Sat. June 25, 2022. During her set, Megan spoke out against the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

When the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization on Friday, effectively overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that codified the right to abortion, social media predictably exploded with myriad responses.

Musicians were among those who immediately spoke up, and their reactions — overwhelmingly against the court's decision — were as creative as the beats and melodies that have made them famous. Many took to Twitter and Instagram. Others spoke up from the highly visible stages of Glastonbury and the BET Awards, which became bully pulpits for people demanding respect for individuals' freedoms. A few musicians quickly penned songs in response to the rulings, or rewrote Americana chestnuts — including, in one memorable case, "the Star-Spangled Banner." Several stars and music industry groups, including Lizzo and Rage Against the Machine, pledged significant profits from upcoming tours to support abortion-rights advocacy groups.

Here is a running list of musicians' reactions and actions:

  • Lizzo, matched by Live Nation, pledged a million dollars to Planned Parenthood.
  • Rage Against The Machine pledged nearly half a million dollars to abortion services in Illinois and Wisconsin.
  • Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen dedicated a performance of "F*** You" during their set at Glastonbury to the five Supreme Court Justices who voted in the Court's majority:
  • "All these irrelevant, old motherf******, trying to tell us what to do with our bodies," Phoebe Bridgers said during her Glastonbury set, to raucous cheers from the audience.
  • Latto, the singer behind hit single "Big Energy," used her acceptance speech at the BET awards to share a tearful nod to abortion rights: "It's giving pro-choice, it's never giving a man policing my body."
  • Raveena, who wrote "Time Flies" about an abortion she had in her 20s, shared that she'd had an ectopic pregnancy scare the same week as the ruling.
  • "The truth is that my heart breaks looking out into this audience, because I see so many people who deserve to have incredible lives, who deserve healthcare that they need," said Halsey at a performance in Arizona on June 26.
  • Singer-songwriter Reina Del Cid wrote a haunting, spare take on "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)."
  • Taylor Swift quote-tweeted Michelle Obama's statement on the Supreme Court decision, adding that she was "absolutely terrified" about the ruling.
  • Janelle Monae took a beat to flip off the Supreme Court at the BET Awards.
  • "F*** the Supreme Court," said Lorde during her own Glastonbury set.
  • Mariah Carey reflected on the decision's impact on future generations on Twitter.
  • Charli XCX encouraged people across the world to act towards protecting abortion access.
  • P!nk took to Twitter to tell her fans that if they didn't believe in her values, she didn't want them supporting her.
  • Amanda Shires opened up about the decision to talk about her abortion, saying, "I feel like the God that I believe in gave me the brain and the thinking and the knowledge to know what I should be able to do with my body":
  • View this post on Instagram A post shared by Amanda Shires (@amandapearlshires)

  • Breland emphasized the need for everyone to speak up for abortion access, and said this was only the beginning of a "hymn of oppression and control."
  • Brandi Carlile added a note of hope to her protest, according to Variety, expressing faith in the majority of American people and encouraging her fans to let their emotions out.
  • Brittany Howard of The Alabama Shakes tied abortion rights in with police brutality and capitalism, saying: "Anger on top of anger on top of anger. This system has failed us again."
  • On Twitter, Americana singer-songwriter Jason Isbell mentioned how gerrymandering shaped the impact of the Supreme Court's decision, adding, "This is not what the people want."
  • Sadler Vaden, a solo artist who also plays guitar in Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, tweeted in support of bodily autonomy, adding that it was a "sad day for our country."
  • Americana favorite son Lukas Nelson quickly penned a heartfelt ballad about the consequences lack of abortion access will have:
  • Country artist and Apple Radio host Rissi Palmer offered a heartfelt and harrowing account of a miscarriage to illustrate the variety of pregnancy experiences affected by the SCOTUS ruling.
  • Singer-songwriter Lauren Jenkins wondered where the voices of mainstream country artists were in the moment.
  • Singer-songwriter Michaela Anne speculated about the possible effects of the Jan. 6 hearings on the integrity of the Supreme Court Justices that Donald Trump appointed.
  • Country singer Kaitlin Butts referenced the emotional end of a Billie Eilish song to express her feelings about the decision.
  • In line with decades of pro-choice activism, Pearl Jam encouraged fans to support organizations focused on providing and supporting abortion access.
  • On stage at Glastonbury, Megan Thee Stallion said her home state of Texas was "really embarrassing me right now" and led the crowd in chanting "my body, my motherf****** choice":
  • The Chicago artist NNAMDÏ shared on Twitter that he was "never surprised but continuously disappointed" and recommended community-driven ways to support abortion access.
  • Cat Power shared screenshots of reactions to the decision and information about a protest on Instagram, adding "We will NOT abandon people who need abortions right now we will do the opposite."
  • Bon Iver's Justin Vernon shared his frustration on Twitter.
  • In a lengthy Instagram caption, Jack White criticized the two-party system and Trump's actions that led to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
  • Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstron's spontaneous onstage response to the ruling was to threaten that he would revoke his American citizenship.
  • Adam Weiner of the Philly band Low Cut Connie let a picture say a thousand words:
  • Paramore singer Hayley Williams shared sadness and anger on Instagram, and pointed fans towards the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
  • Singer-songwriter Kristen Hersh shared a video of her performing a song she calls a "song about childbirth" in 2015:
  • Hurray For The Riff Raff encouraged fans to share information about abortion access organizations, and linked to the New Orleans Abortion Fund.
  • Maggie Rogers wrote: "abortion is healthcare. bodily autonomy is a human right."
  • The pop duo Sylvan Esso tweeted that "we are full of rage," adding that the band would "play this festival tonight and go directly to dc to protest."
  • Rock songwriter MAITA was succinct about her frustrations.
  • Paula Cole declared that the ruling "has officially ratified gender apartheid."
  • Kathy Valentine, bassist and guitarist from the groundbreaking all-woman band The Go-Go's posted: "It breaks my heart to think of all the intelligent, creative, innovative minds and careers of women" limited by the ruling.
  • Public Enemy's always outspoken frontman Chuck D put it simply, calling the decision "F a s c i s m."
  • In accepting the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist award at the BET Awards, Jazmine Sullivan asked men to stand up for women's rights. "This is not just a women's issue," she said. "This is everybody's issue."
  • According to the Guardian, Kendrick Lamar concluded his electrifying Glastonbury performance with an improvised reworking of the song "Savior," intoning, "Godspeed for women's rights / They judge you, they judge Christ."
  • Alicia Keys retweeted former President Obama's tweet, adding that the decision "is about more than abortion, it's about who has power over you."
  • Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny retweed Ohio representative Shontel Brown, who expressed frustration at the Supreme Court's recent rulings on gun control and abortion rights.
  • Rosalía retweeted an image of a sign invoking her "Motomami" nickname and reading "fight for your rights":
  • Singer-songwriter Helado Negro shared a link to donate to abortion funds across the country.
  • Acclaimed jazz pianist Vijay Iyer retweeted part of Justice Thomas' opinion, calling it "Cruel and deranged."
  • The Nashville band Bully shared abortion resources as a backdrop to its set at Nashville Pride on Sunday.
  • Covering Vic Chesnutt's song "Blight," the revered jam band Widespread Panic added the lyric, "Stand by your woman, because a woman's body is her f****** own."
  • The rap group Earthgang expressed frustration at the Supreme Court's decision from the stage at a concert, sharing a video on Instagram:
  • View this post on Instagram A post shared by EARTHGANG ⚡️ #WeAreEarthGang (@earthgang)

  • Eminem shared his anger with the decision as a father of three, and shared abortion resources in Michigan.
  • The always-online superstar Cher warned that Americans should "BE VERY AFRAID‼"
  • After posting a comment about how the decision affects family members beyond women, the iconic singer-songwriter posed with a handmade sign: "Don't despair, organize and vote."
  • Cyndi Lauper released a new version of her 1993 song "Sally's Pigeons," about a girl who dies after a back-alley abortion, in the wake of the ruling:
  • Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater vowed to "never stop fighting for women's rights."
  • Days after releasing an album including the song "Baby, I Had an Abortion," Petrol Girls singer Ren Aldridge published an editorial on the subject in music magazine Kerrang!
  • In a series of tweets, Mountain Goats leader John Darnielle decried "centrists" for allowing the right-to-choose to slip into peril.
  • The Twitter feed of Drive-By Truckers was full of warnings about America's "slide into fascism."
  • Hayley Kiyoko declared herself "sick to my stomach" and called for her fans to fight back.
  • "Check on your friends," pop superstar Harry Styles wrote in a sympathetic note to fans on "a truly dark day for America."
  • Among other comments, Questlove speculated that Beyoncé's latest anthem, "BREAK MY SOUL," might prove more necessary after the ruling.
  • Maren Morris kept her response short and sweet:
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    Corrected: June 28, 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT
    An earlier version of this story incorrectly said singer-songwriter Reina Del Cid wrote a take on the national anthem. It was a version of "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)."
    Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.
    Nisha Venkat