The UK/Austrian punks new single screams that every woman should have easy access to abortion, without apologies or shame
“This song is a response to my experience of having had an abortion in 2018 and my encounters with pro-lifers since then, Ren continues. “I’m happy to speak openly about my abortion and feel privileged to have accessed it easily and for free on the NHS in the UK.
“This should be the case everywhere, but abortion is illegal, expensive and/or hard to access in many places around the world. I found out I was pregnant the morning after the eighth amendment was repealed in Ireland. I felt very aware of how lucky I was to be in a country where I could do it easily.
“When I moved to Austria, I was shocked to find out that it costs around €500 to have an abortion. Even if you have health insurance, that’s almost two months rent for me! One morning, my partner and I encountered pro-lifers marching in front of the abortion clinic on the main street. I saw red, and before I knew it, was circling them screaming, “I HAD AN ABORTION AND I’M NOT SORRY!” to the amusement of onlooking shoppers.
“I joined local counter-protests and continued shouting, “I had an abortion, and I’m not sorry” in German. But I started thinking about this interaction and how limited it was, even if it was cathartic. I didn’t want to dignify them with a serious reaction – I wanted to ridicule them.
“The idea for the song came directly from these experiences and is first and foremost intended for upsetting pro-lifers on demonstrations. The ‘Shame Shame Shame’ lyric is totally a Game of Thrones reference, and the whole idea is intended to ridicule pro-lifers’ attempts to shame us for exercising our bodily autonomy.
“I wanted the song to have party vibes because I feel like abortion, whilst it obviously can be traumatic and upsetting, can also be totally fine and something to celebrate. I wanted to put something joyful about abortion out into the world.”
Petrol Girls will be raising money for Abortion Without Borders with this release. They’re a network of organisations that fund and support people in Poland to access abortion in neighbouring countries or at home with pills. Abortion laws were further tightened in Poland last year, making it only legal in minimal circumstances.
“The work done by Abortion Without Borders is incredible, and they’ve been a lifeline for so many,” says Ren.
The first chance to hear Baby, I Had An Abortion live will be at Petrol Girls’ headline dates in the UK. This includes the Punks Against Sweatshop’s event at The 100 Club in London on 19 March.
Petrol Girls have always faced pertinent issues head-on. They’ve covered subjects from sexual assault and misogyny in Touch Me Again to xenophobia and nationalism in No Love For A Nation, fighting for equality and justice through their music.
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