Olivia Rodrigo's Concert Freebies Cause a Stir in Missouri

Emergency contraception handed out for free at singer's show in state that bans abortion
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2024 12:26 PM CDT
Olivia Rodrigo's Concert Freebies Cause a Stir in Missouri
Olivia Rodrigo arrives at the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Attendees of pop star Olivia Rodrigo's recent concert in Missouri got more than a show: Some went home with the morning-after pill, free of charge, in the state where abortion is banned. The emergency contraception from startup Julie, which costs about $50 per pill, was handed out for free at the singer's concert in St. Louis on Tuesday, reports the BBC. Right by You, a text line connecting Missouri teens to out-of-state abortion care, was at the event providing free pills and condoms from a table near the women's bathrooms, the Guardian reports. "They told me it was free, so my sister, her friend and I all took some," one attendee tells the outlet. "I'm going to save it in case something bad happens."

After banning all abortions except in cases of medical emergency, state Republicans are also trying to defund Planned Parenthood, which has traditionally supplied reproductive health care, including contraception, per the Guardian. Rodrigo has been very vocal in her support for abortion rights. Last month, she launched Fund 4 Good, a campaign to protect reproductive rights, which will receive a portion of sales from her Guts world tour. That involved partnering with local chapters of the National Network of Abortion Funds, including Right by You. It was the group's decision to hand out the emergency contraception at the St. Louis show, project director Stephanie Kraft Sheley tells the Guardian.

But "she invited us," Sheley says of the 21-year-old popstar. She adds that she hopes other artists "step up" and "follow this example." But others are "horrified" by the move. Missouri State Sen. Bill Eigel, a Republican, said Rodrigo "is actively harming women in Missouri by championing abortion" and "should be ashamed," per Euronews. The emergency contraception colloquially known as Plan B, which reduces the risk of pregnancy when taken within a few days of having unprotected sex, is not prohibited under Missouri law. (More Missouri stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.