Roe vs Wade: Phoebe Bridgers speaks truth to power. Why can’t politicians?
With the US Supreme Court voting to overturn abortion rights, Hanna Flint says it’s time to end the blame game
Friday 6 May 2022 By Hanna Flint
I can’t help but wince at the harrowing news that abortion rights are exponentially under threat in the US. The UK might be a sh*t show under the insidious rule of Boris Johnson and his Tory government, but at least my rights to terminate a pregnancy, should I require it, are still intact. At the moment, at least. Yet in the United States of America, a country that has positioned itself as a city upon a hill, a superpower at the forefront of innovation and progress, this regressive, right-wing attack on women’s bodies and the constitutional right to privacy when it comes to their personal medical health, is revolting.
The female population has rightly been shaken to its core over the attempt of Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices to reverse the landmark 1973 ruling of Roe vs Wade that, while not absolute and balanced with government health and prenatal guidelines, secured women’s liberty to abort a pregnancy. If that legal judgement is overturned, 22 states could instantly make abortion a criminal offence. It’s never been a more important time for American men and women to speak up and protest against this potential outcome, because the poorest, marginalised women in the country are going to be adversely affected the most.
It’s why it was so heartening to see Phoebe Bridgers share her own personal experience with terminating a pregnancy on social media. ‘I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour,’ Bridgers said on Instagram and Twitter. ‘I went to Planned Parenthood, where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access.’
The posts went viral and by linking to a site detailing Planned Parenthood facilities, she signal-boosted abortion awareness while normalising the so-called taboo subject and hopefully inspired people to donate to the non-profit organisation dedicated to reproductive care. Of course, there are far more people who have been doing the groundwork for years, decades even, tirelessly fighting for women to have greater autonomy over their bodies, but famous artists have bigger platforms to influence positive, progressive thinking and activism than at any point in human history.
By joining the chorus of people talking candidly about their abortion experiences, Bridgers helps to shift the perception of it being a harrowing ordeal for every person who chooses to get one – although harrowing conceptions through rape and threats to women’s health are two major factors as to why Roe vs Wade needs to be enshrined in legislation as protection. But you have to question why, after 50 years, it hasn’t been done already.
I’ve seen just as many people attacking Susan Sarandon on social media as they have been praising Bridgers this week, and it’s rather galling to see the veteran actress being blamed for the current situation. Sarandon’s liberal critics are suggesting that because she didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and spoke harshly and publicly against her as the Democratic candidate, she is partly to blame for Donald Trump getting elected and causing the public shift further right that has paved the way for abortion rights to be terminated. Yet, Barack Obama had eight years to codify and protect the Roe vs Wade decision through the Freedom of Choice Act, a campaign promise, and didn’t.
So maybe Democrats should look within their own political ranks and at their leaders who didn’t force Obama to make it a priority, instead of blaming Sarandon for voting for Jill Stein in a state that Clinton easily won. Or, simply focus on the current administration that has Democratic control over Congress, the Senate and the White House. If the Left really cares about women’s rights and the mantra of ‘my body, my choice’ then they will be doing everything in their power to push Joe Biden, senators and congressional members into codifying Roe vs Wade before it’s too late. Enough of the blame game. Speak truth to power for the sake of the women of your nation.
All back to The Met
The first Monday in May has been and gone with a host of new Met Gala outfits to delight in. Although delight might be too strong a word considering the ensembles put together for this year’s theme of Gilded Glamour. Every year, I look at the red-carpet snaps and feel frustration bubbling – like I’m Alan Partridge having to listen to people reference Bond incorrectly. STOP GETTING THE THEME WRONG. Shout out to Billie Eilish for actually nailing it in Gucci with upcycled material, but the fashion house’s former creative director Tom Ford recently said the event had turned into ‘a costume party’.
‘[It] used to just be very chic people wearing very beautiful clothes going to an exhibition about the 18th century,’ he told former New York magazine editor Amy Odell in an excerpt of her forthcoming Anna Wintour biography. ‘You didn’t have to look like the 18th century, you didn’t have to dress like a hamburger, you didn’t have to arrive in a van where you were standing up because you couldn’t sit down because you wore a chandelier.’
He’s got a point. Maybe this is one regressive view we should all get behind for the sake of my sartorial expectations, at least, not being annually, well, met.