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Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena

Concertgoers will no longer be given Plan B at Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS Tour

After backlash from conservatives, the singer’s team have reportedly told the abortion fund organisations to stop providing concert-goers with free birth control. Now, young people must sign up with abortion funds to receive it by post.

Just before the start of her GUTS World Tour, Oliva Rodrigo filmed a TikTok announcing her new global reproductive rights initiative called ‘Fund 4 Good’. The fund aims to uplift community-based nonprofits that champion girls’ education, reproductive rights and prevent gender-based violence, with a portion of all ticket sales for the concert being donated directly to the fund. Alongside this, concert-goers have the opportunity to learn about their reproductive health as the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) has tables at every GUTS World Tour stop. 

On Tuesday (March 12), concert-goers who attended her St. Louis show shared pictures of condoms, emergency contraception, lube and stickers that they received from the Missouri Abortion Fund, which had a designated section at the concert, and their posts went viral. Rodrigo has received a significant amount of praise for shining a light on abortion funds and for providing young people with the tools to be in control of their sexual health, as their sexual freedom has been so heavily infringed upon since the overturning of Roe v Wade in 2022, and even way before that. 

However, yesterday (March 14), Jezebel reported that Rodrigo’s management had told members of the NNAF that they could no longer distribute emergency contraception, condoms or lube to concert-goers after backlash from conservatives and right-wingers who claim that the emergency contraceptive pill is an abortifacient. Even Rolling Stone, in their social headline about the St. Louis show, likened the pill to an abortion pill. To be clear: emergency contraception, more commonly known as the morning-after pill or plan-b, is not an abortion pill. It prevents pregnancy by blocking sperm from fertilising an egg or prevents the release of an egg in the first place.  

Destinin Spaeth, chair of Prairie Abortion Fund, which will be at the St. Paul, Minnesota show today (March 15), told Jezebel that they have hundreds of boxes of emergency contraception that they can now not share: “We are missing the opportunity to share our resources, and this feels almost performative when we have actionable things, like emergency contraception, that we could hand out to young people who encounter so many barriers to care.” 

Alongside the factually incorrect claims that these organisations are handing out abortion pills, conservative pundits have also raised concerns about children’s access to those items. Even though, as Susan Rinkunas writes for Jezebel, most young children go to these shows with chaperones. 

The best thing we can do for young people is to ensure that they are properly informed about their sexual health because, as statistics show, abstinence-only education fails young people. Not only does it not delay young people’s participation in sexual activities, but it violates their adolescent human rights, as it “withholds medically accurate information, reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and undermines public health programs.” To put it plainly: It puts young people in danger, much greater danger than abortion funds providing them with contraception and lube. 

Over the weekend (March 16-17), concert-goers who attended the St. Paul show reported that abortion fund Our Justice, who had a table at Rodrigo’s show, allowed young people to sign up with them to recieve free Plan B by post. Is this better than not providing any sexual health products to young people at all? Absolutely. But it's still bittersweet. Some young people may very well avoid the abortion fund tables at her shows now as they know getting Plan B sent to their homes could put them in danger. 

‘Fund 4 Good’ is an incredible initiative, and Rodrigo and her team should stay true to their word. Rodrigo says it herself in the TikTok video she filmed that the fund works to “support all women, girls and people seeking reproductive health freedom”, and backlash shouldn’t stop that goal from coming to fruition.  

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