Content warning: abortion

Today’s Friday Soundtrack comes from our longtime faves Petrol Girls, who just dropped ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’ – a ‘party-banger about having an abortion and not being sorry about it’. The track is raising funds for Abortion Without Borders – an organisation which should not have to exist in 2022. Abortion is healthcare, and to hell with anyone who tries to restrict our access to healthcare.

A drum-driving, Bikini Kill-infused punk stormer this track – but still with lashings of that technical post-hardcore guitar riffs we love from the PGs.

I’ve got to say it – I found this song triggering, hence the content warning at the top. Big love to everyone who’s had to have an abortion, for all those millions of complicated reasons.

Petrol Girls’ Ren Aldridge shared the following:

I’m totally happy to speak openly about my abortion and feel very 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I found out I was pregnant the morning after the eighth amendment was repealed in Ireland, and I had brutal morning sickness at a ‘Now For Northern Ireland’ demo a couple of weeks later, so I felt very physically aware of how lucky I was to be in a country where I could do it so 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. I’ve not seen much of the pro-lifers since the pandemic but I’m thinking about dance routines and street theatre to go along with the pro-abortion flyers we handed out to passers by.

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. We tend to only hear the horror stories, and I wanted to put something joyful about abortion out into the world!

The reasons why having an abortion has been something joyful for me are deeply political, and in reflection of that, we’re using this release to raise money for Abortion Without Borders. We figured not many of you would necessarily want ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’ on a t-shirt, so we’ve made ‘Baby, I Support Abortion’ t shirts and totes. 50% of the profit from both merch and downloads of the single on bandcamp will go to AWB.

AWB are 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 extremely limited circumstances. Since then there have been three confirmed deaths of pregnant women in Poland after being denied an abortion. AWB have helped 32,888 people access safe abortion since the ruling! 31,344 contacted them asking for medical abortion pills and morning after pills etc. 1,544 people have had a safe abortion in a clinic or hospital abroad – that’s at least 4 people per day!! The work done by Abortion Without Borders is incredible and they’ve been a lifeline for, literally, thousands.

The track comes with news of a Petrol Girls tour – yes! Check out the UK dates here

Petrol Girls on tour in March 2022