Look, 98 percent of the time my job is to make jokes about songs with my friends, throw the best ones on the ol’ dot com, and ignore you while you complain about them on Facebook. It’s a good gig.
But music is also about joining together with a unified voice in moments of crisis. When some asshole decides it’ll help his bottom line to send our kids off to another country to get shot at, we sing anti-war songs. When some corporate stooge decides we don’t deserve our fair share of the profits our labor creates, we sing union songs. And when horrific (and well-funded) laws are ramrodded through state legislatures for the express purpose of rendering anyone with a uterus a second-class citizen, it’s time time gather up a pro-choice songbook.
With that in mind, here are eight songs that unequivocally support the right to abortion. The current situation calls for much more than compiling a list, but hopefully this small something isn't entirely useless.
(Never read the comments, of course, but in this case, really never read the comments, because it’s probably gonna be a bunch of sad dudes yowling about how they should be allowed to legislate forced birth and criminalize medical procedures and seriously, none of us have time for that.)
Mekons – “Born to Choose”
“I will not have/What I do not want,” Sally Timms declares over a martial clamor of fiddle and guitar, before she distills the opposing ethos down to it’s cruel core: “Love should be hard/Life must be pain.”
Digable Planets – “Le Femme Fetal”
En route to escorting a female friend to a clinic, Butterfly lays out the need for abortion rights with eloquent, even-tempered grace and jazzy hepcat flourishes: “It has always been around/It will always have a niche/But they’ll make it a privilege, not a right/Accessible only to the rich.”
Lunachicks – “Fallopian Rhapsody"
A riot grrrl anthem to march to: “I’ve got something to say to you honey/Keep your hands off my body!/Never go back never go back never go back, no!”
Malvina Reynolds – “Rosie Jane”
Here's how the great protest singer and activist responded to Roe v. Wade. She’d later follow up with "Back Alley Surgery" after the Supreme Court ruling that Medicaid funding for abortion could be limited.
Citizen Fish – “Catholic Sex Confession”
There’s no shortage of punk screeds for abortion rights. This is among the most didactic of the lot, but it's also earnest and thoughtful.
Yoko Ono – “What a Mess”
Yoko tells it like it is: “If you keep hammering anti-abortion/We'll tell you no more masturbation for men/Every day you're killing living sperms in billions/So how do you feel about that, brother?”
Ani DiFranco – “Amendment”
This is more broadly a call for the Equal Rights Amendment, but it also place abortion rights as “central to the civil rights of women.”
Against Me! – “White Crosses”
For those moments of pure rage.