Can celebrities make a difference in the American abortion debate? CBC’s pop chat plays an important role

Can celebrities make a difference in the American abortion debate? This was the central question this week for CBC Podcast’s panelists pop chat.

Last week, Politico reported that a draft ruling is being circulated among US Supreme Court justices that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that secured federal constitutional abortion rights in the United States.

The story was followed by waves of protests across the United States, as people went to Washington to express their anger at the seemingly imminent retreat from reproductive rights. The story sent shockwaves through every arena, from politics to popular culture.

Public figures from musician Phoebe Bridgers to Cathy Newman, UK Channel 4 news presenter, to New York attorney general Letitia James have shared miscarriage stories. Dozens of celebrities like Amy Schumer and Tracy Ellis Ross speak. Meanwhile, pop star Olivia Rodrigo stopped a concert to talk to him and Saturday Night Live She devoted much of her most recent episodes to the possible coup d’état of Roe v. Wade.

“I know the trend is to catch our eyes when celebrities are politically active, or to think they are intolerable or narcissistic, or they are just attention-grabbing situations,” he said. pop chat Speaker Kevin Fallon.

“But I do think, first and foremost, that there is something genuinely moving about these people that we set rules or express to meet where we are… to watch the flood of social media posts, personal stories, and statements that resonate with our sadness, anger or frustration. It makes us feel visible. It’s a kind of hope.”

Do I think that actors tweeting about politics would necessarily change the opinion of any lawmaker? of course not. But they have the ability to activate and amplify.– Kevin Fallon

pop chatEmile Niazi, a member of the team, is not confident in gestures.

“While I think it’s incredibly poignant, courageous, and important when celebrities speak up and share their miscarriage stories, I wonder how much of an impact they have on the actual issue,” Niazi said.

“What is particularly interesting here is that a majority of Americans are also in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade intact, so celebrities and citizens are all on the same side on the issue. However, they both have the same amount of power to shape the Scotos decision, which is, to say, very little “.

But even if that doesn’t change policy, Fallon said, celebrity interest in Roe v. Wade’s story could raise her profile.

“Do I think that actors tweeting about politics would necessarily change a lawmaker’s opinion? Of course not. But they have the power to energize and amplify.”

Take the pop stars who sell yards, he says.

“When someone like Olivia Rodrigo, with her huge young fan base, stops her show to talk about Roe v. Wade, there is meaning in that. Her fans might be affected by investing in this in ways they didn’t have before, or she might start thinking about the problem differently. “.

Pop star Olivia Rodrigo has halted a concert to address a draft ruling that has thrown Roe v. Wade off. Celebrity interest in this story is important, but could it make a difference? This week’s Pop Chat discusses. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

At their strongest, popular culture figures may be able to draw attention towards organizations deeply involved in issues, but only need more support to continue to do their work. Niazi gives the example of organizations working Jane Fonda, Mark Ruffalo and Catherine Hahn such as Abortion within Reach and others such as Amy Schumer and Chelsea Handler in coordination with abortion providers and networks.

These kinds of gestures mean the most when a celebrity has some kind of personal interest in the story.

“It’s hard to take celebrities seriously, and well-meaning as they are, when there are pointless gestures like Gal Gadot’s ‘Imagine’ video that still haunts us,” Fallon said.

“But they’re in situations where, especially if they’re personally motivated by a case — Andy Cohen and surrogacy in New York, Kim Kardashian and prison reform, Amy Schumer and gun violence — there’s the power to make a difference.”

But no famous act, no matter how orchestrated it, can distract attention from the fact that Roe v. Wade’s opposition requires purposeful civic action.

As Niazi said, “Ultimately, this is an issue in which celebrity influence will not have as great an impact as the coordination of many, many Americans, who come together to pressure judges, legislators, and politicians to prevent this draft decision from becoming permanent.”