As the reality of the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case — which had granted pregnant people in the US the right to safe and legal abortion — set in over the weekend, protestors filled the streets, tears were shed, world leaders reacted with devastation, and a chorus of horror and despair echoed around the world.
On the other side of the Atlantic in a little place called Worthy Farm, those cries could be heard. That little place is the site of the UK’s Glastonbury Festival, where artists and musicians took to the stage to share their response to the ruling with the crowds.
The hedonism and joy of the five-day music extravaganza was overshadowed when, on June 24, the US Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, arguing that abortion is not protected under the constitution. That means US states now have the power to regulate the procedure as they see fit.
Within hours, abortion bans invalidated by Roe v. Wade were resurrected. As of June 28, 8 states have banned abortion, 10 states are expected to see bans or severe restrictions soon, and in a further 12, the legal status of abortion is characterized as “threatened.”
As many human rights advocates and activists have highlighted, outlawing abortion does not stop abortions from happening, it just makes them more dangerous for those seeking them. Those most at risk are people already living in poverty and Black pregnant people, who are more likely to be prosecuted for miscarriage. You can read more here about the impact of the ruling and the actions you can take to help protect abortion rights.
Global Citizen believes in the power of artists alongside citizens using their voices to call out policies they view as unjust, and that's just what happened at Glastonbury.
Here are eight ways Glastonbury musicians took the fight for abortion rights to the stage, using their platforms for good because, in the words of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “Moments like these make a huge, huge difference.”
1. Phoebe Bridgers Calls Out 'Irrelevant Old Motherf***ers'
Phoebe Bridgers vented her frustration at America's high court during her Glastonbury Festival set on Friday night.
“In all honesty, [the festival is] like super surreal and fun, but I’m having like the shittiest day,” she told the crowd. “Are there any Americans here? What wants to say ‘Fuck the Supreme Court’ on three?,” she shouted before leading a chant of “Fuck the Supreme Court!” She concluded: “Fuck that shit. Fuck America. Like, fuck you. All these irrelevant old motherfuckers trying to tell us what to do with our fucking bodies.”
Earlier this year, Bridgers tweeted: “I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour. I went to Planned Parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access. Here’s a big list of places you can donate to right now.” On Friday, she tweeted simply “Fucking evil,” and added a link to the Mariposa Fund abortion-care providers.
I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour. I went to planned parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access.— traitor joe (@phoebe_bridgers) May 3, 2022
Here’s a big list of places you can donate to right now. https://t.co/jT0sk6CeNX
2. Billie Eilish Calls Out a 'Dark Day For Women in the US'
Billie Eilish became the youngest headliner ever to perform on the Pyramid Stage and the “Bad Guy” singer used her clout to protest the Supreme Court’s decision.
Before dedicating her song "Your Power," to everyone affected by the ruling, Eilish wiped away a tear and said: "Today is a really, really dark day for women in the US. I'm just going to say that because I can't bear to think about it any longer."
A devastatingly poignant moment as Billie Eilish confronts the unspeakable reality of today's gravity-collapsingly-bleak Roe vs Wade decision -— John McMahon (@JohnMcArts) June 24, 2022
And then wipes away a tear before cascading into (Try not to abuse) 'Your Power'#Glastonbury#glastonbury2022#Glastopic.twitter.com/BLmWoHGpKu
3. Idles’ Joe Talbot Dedicates ‘Mother’ to 'Every Woman'
The frontman of the British rock band Idles, Joe Talbot, lamented that the ruling had taken the US back to the “Middle Ages.”
“Of course, this is for every mother and every woman and her right to choose whether she is a mother or not,” he said. “Long live the open-minded, long live my mother, and long live every single one of you.”
4. Olivia Rodrigo Invites Lily Allen to Sing 'Fuck You'
On the evening of Saturday, June 25, the pop queen Olivia Rodrigo brought out Lily Allen as a special guest to sing Allen’s seethingly sardonic hit “Fuck You.” They dedicated the British banger to the five Supreme Court justices who spearheaded the overturning: Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
“I’m devastated and terrified. So many women and so many girls are going to die because of this,” Rodrigo said.
Olivia Rodrigo brought out Lily Allen to sing ‘F*ck You’ after calling out 5 SCOTUS Justices by name in front of 200K people at Glastonbury…absolute rock star!!!— Wu-Tang Is For The Children (@WUTangKids) June 25, 2022
5. Megan Thee Stallion Leads Crowd in 'My Body, My Motherf***ing Choice'
Megan Thee Stallion made no bones about her rage during her set, saying: "You know it wouldn't be me if I didn't take a second to call out these stupid ass men."
“Texas really embarrassing me right now — y’all know that’s my home state, “ she continued. “And I want to have it on the record that the motherfucking hot girls and the hot boys do not support this bullshit that y’all campaigning for.” The rapper then lead the crowd into a chant of “My Body, My Motherf***ing Choice!”
The court has failed us all — but we won’t back down. I’m going to keep fighting because everyone deserves access to the care they need. Join me and @PPact: https://t.co/fd4K56b8w3. #BansOffOurBodiespic.twitter.com/FVwoCZqRy0— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) June 24, 2022
The previous night, Megan Thee Stallion had shared a Bans Off Our Bodies infographic and wrote: “The court has failed us all — but we won’t back down. I’m going to keep fighting because everyone deserves access to the care they need.”
6. Kacey Musgraves Says 'It’s a Scary Time to be an American Right Now'
Performing to a golden hour crowd on the Other stage, Musgraves told the audience: “It’s a scary time to be an American right now.”
“Honestly I’m thinking about never going back to America,” she said. “Anyone know anyone with positions for sheep farming? That sounds really good right now.”
7. Lorde Slams the Objectification and Control of Women’s Bodies
Ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s headline set on the final night of the festival, New Zealand singer Lorde shouted, “Fuck the Supreme Court” during her performance.
During her Pyramid Stage set, Lorde tweaked the lyrics to “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” a song from her album Solar Power. While the song normally ends with a monologue from Robyn, Lorde took the mic to make a statement on sexual and reproductive rights.
“Wanna hear a secret, girls?” she asked. “Your bodies were destined to be controlled and objectified since before you were born. That horror is your birthright.”
8. Kendrick Lamar Closes the Festival With a 'Blood-Soaked' Chant for Women’s Rights
Closing Glastonbury was Kendrick Lamar, who made an impassioned plea on stage.
As fake blood poured from his crown of thorns and down his face, over 100,000 people joined him in his final chant: “Godspeed for women’s rights.” What a way to end the festival.
If you're looking for ways you can take action now for abortion access and sexual and reproductive health and rights, head to our article here.