Rock musicians express dismay at overturning of Roe v. Wade

The US Supreme Court building with inset pictures odf Hayley Williams, Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello and Shirley Manson
(Image credit: Geoff Livingston/Getty Images | Hayley Williams: Lindsey Byrnes | Eddie Vedder/Tom Morello: Travis Shinn | Shirley Manson: Press)

Rock musicians have taken to social media to express their dismay at the US Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark legal ruling that protected a pregnant woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion. The decision means that US states will be able to set their own laws regarding the legality of abortion, with about half expected to outlaw the procedure. 

"We are disgusted by the repeal of Roe V. Wade and the devastating impact it will have on tens of millions of people," wrote Rage Against The Machine. "Over half of the country (26 states) is likely to ban or seriously restrict abortion very soon, if not immediately, which will have a disproportionate impact on poor, working class and undocumented BIPOC communities.

"To date, our fans have raised $475,000.00 from the sale of our charity tickets at Alpine Valley and the United Center. We are donating that money to reproductive rights organisations in Wisconsin and Illinois.

"Like the many women who have organised sophisticated railroads of resistance to challenge these attacks on our collective reproductive freedom, we must continue to resist."

RATM guitarist Tom Morello drew attention to the predicted rise in illegal abortions, saying, "My great grandmother, Mary Maude Fitzgerald, died from an illegal, unsafe abortion. Her widower, Thomas Fitzgerald, an itinerant worker, couldn’t raise their three kids alone and sent them off to families that took them as servants. He died alone of TB in a work camp."

Paramore's Hayley Williams wrote on Instagram, "It still feels impossible to comprehend that we live in a country divided on basic human rights, namely healthcare and women’s reproductive rights. If recent history shows a pattern, and it does, you’d have to imagine when these children are forcibly brought into this world that this country won’t take care of them but rather teach them to take cover. What are we f*cking doing? I’m so angry and tired. I’m not the only one.

"I don’t post things personally/myself on this app anymore, but I redownloaded this morning to say something because it felt weird to have our team post my angry feelings for me. I know that there are countless org leaders, activists, and citizens of this country who are on here doing thankless work to make any semblance of progress. Keeping hope alive. Thank you so much to people who are fighting for women’s rights daily, and in ways I’ll never even know. Today is not the end."

"I have spent the last 20 years of my life traveling to every state, city and every corner of the American landscape," wrote Brandi Carlisle. "From Alabama to Georgia, Texas to Tennessee, from New York to California, I have sung songs of hope, inclusivity and love to audiences reflecting those sentiments right back at me by singing along to every word.

"The harrowing and unprecedented decision made by SCOTUS today does not represent the heart and soul of the faces I see everyday in America. The politics and policies don’t match the people. We outnumber the oppressors and we are unstoppable when we realise that and vote as a revolutionary body. This can be undone."

Pearl Jam posted a statement that was also read out onstage by Eddie Vedder: "No one, not the government, not politicians, not the Supreme Court should prevent access to abortion, birth control, and contraceptives. People should have the freedom to choose. Today's decision impacts everyone and it will particularly affect poor women who can’t afford to travel to access health care.

"We will stay active, we will not back down and we will never give up. Elections have consequences, please join us. Text CHOICE to 855-812-VOTE."

Meanwhile, at the London Stadium, on the UK leg of the Hella Mega tour with Fall Out Boy and Weezer, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong took to the mic to express his displeasure.

"Fuck America," he proclaimed. "I’m fucking renouncing my citizenship. I’m fucking coming here. There’s just too much fucking stupid in the world to go back to that miserable fucking excuse for a country."

Phoebe Bridgers: “F***ing evil.”

Shirley Manson (Garbage): "Abort The Supreme Court!"

Olivio Rodrigo: "I’m devastated and terrified. So many women and so many girls are going to die because of this."

Carole King: "Taking a right away from more than half the population affects every member of a family. Reproductive healthcare is on the ballot. Organise and plan your vote."

Jack White: "The two party system by proxy puts this clown in a position to pick three conservative Supreme Court justices, three… Well Trump, you took the country backwards 50 years."

Dee Snider: "This is not a battle between liberal & conservative, left & right, Democrat & Republican. IT'S A BATTLE BETWEEN FREE CHOICE VS NO CHOICE! They can only win if they take our choices away. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE GOT THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE! RISE UP AND VOTE THOSE MUTHA EFFERS OUT!"

David Draiman: "The government has no business telling anyone what they can and cannot do with their own body. Period. This is a travesty."

Todd La Torre (Queensryche): "The religious cults are one step closer to a theocracy. What a travesty. We have turned the clock back decades for women."

Alex Skolnick (Testament): "Today they (Thomas/Gorsuch/Barrett/Kavenough - each of whom committed perjury in hearings) are forcing unwanted pregnancies upon women. Yesterday they forced more guns upon all of us. Next up, controlling sex lives, 1950s style, (no joke). THIS IS GOING TO BE WAR."

Chris No. 2 (Anti-Flag): "Please remember, there are people in your life that you know and love that have had abortions. Abortion is healthcare and is a human right. Fuck the Supreme Court. In our collective fear, anger, sadness, we are not alone."

Jason Isbell: "If you’re gonna talk about how divided we are as a nation, you’ll want to mention SCOTUS decisions like this one, handing power to state reps in crazy-ass gerrymandered districts and completely ignoring the will of the majority of US citizens. This is not what the people want." 

Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!): “And yet somehow I fear this year will only get worse.”

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.