To say Planned Parenthood has had a rough couple of months is an understatement. In response to increasingly restrictive abortion bills and, most recently, a departure from federal funding program Title X, reproductive rights are under attack like never before. Now, in attempts to send this message to as many people as possible, Planned Parenthood's Bans Off My Body campaign has gained major celebrity support.
In a new, full-page ad in the Aug. 24 issue of Billboard, celebs including Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, and Lizzo are among nearly 140 musicians who have signed off supporting Planned Parenthood’s #BansOffMyBody campaign. The campaign aims to “raise awareness about the harm of sweeping bans on access to safe, legal abortion and affirm that no one is free unless they control their own body,” according to a Planned Parenthood press release on Aug. 26. Other supporting artists include Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa, and Kacey Musgraves.
In the Planned Parenthood statement, Eilish said, “we cannot live freely and move fully in the world when our basic right to access the reproductive health care we need is under attack. Every person deserves the right to control their body, their life, and their future.”
Besides Eilish, other celebs have been sharing their stance on their social media, or even their own bodies — at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday, Aug. 26, Lizzo was seen wearing a necklace that read "BANS OFF," in reference to the campaign. Thirty percent of sales proceeds from the necklace, from Sophie Ratner jewelry, will go to Planned Parenthood.
But, the campaign isn’t meant to end with these musicians’ support. Instead, Planned Parenthood hopes the artists will use their platforms to encourage fans to also speak out against bans on safe, legal abortion. More specifically, it hopes the movement will help collect 500,000 signatures to a national petition against abortion bans by the January 2020 anniversary of landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which was decided in 1973. It will also work with music festivals to take the campaign beyond screens to fans in person. You can join in, too, by texting BANSOFF to 22422 and signing the petition.
The celebrities have already begun sharing the campaign on their social media accounts. On Aug. 24, Dua Lipa encouraged her 3.4 million Twitter followers to sign the petition, appearing to reference "trigger" laws which would automatically ban abortion in certain states should Roe be overturned. In a real show of solidarity across genres, Pussy Riot, Death Cab for Cutie, and the Foo Fighters also posted on Twitter.
“Planned Parenthood is grateful to these artists for using their incredible platforms to declare that our bodies are our own – if they are not, we can never be truly free or equal,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s Acting President and CEO, in the press release.
The campaign hinges on freedom. Freedom is “at the foundation of music,” the ad says, and is essential to the work these artists do everyday. Abortion access is about that very same freedom: having rights to your own body and choices.
It’s no surprise that many of these artists are advocates of reproductive rights. In May 2019, following the passage of a bill to ban early-term abortions in Georgia, Pitchfork reported that Travis Scott donated his merch profits from a festival show to Planned Parenthood. About a month later, Grande also donated $250,000 from her Atlanta concert proceeds, per Pitchfork. Eilish, Lady Gaga, and others responded on social media, condemning similar bans across the country as "heinous" and a "travesty."
Just this year, state legislatures have filed hundreds of bills restricting abortion. By bringing together almost 140 musicians from across industries, Planned Parenthood hopes it can tackle what seems to be an ever-increasing attack on sexual and reproductive healthcare. A half-million signatures may sound like a lot, but with some of these celebrities’ follower counts, it hopefully will not be too difficult.