Pussy Riot performing in Alabama to protest abortion ban | Inquirer Entertainment
Close  

Pussy Riot performing in Alabama to protest ‘ridiculous’ abortion ban

/ 07:10 PM July 07, 2019

The Russian collective Pussy Riot will perform in Alabama on July 11, a sold-out concert to raise money for women’s rights groups in light of the state’s recent passage of a near-total ban on abortion.

Proceeds from the Birmingham benefit will go to Planned Parenthood and the Yellowhammer Fund, a group that gives assistance to women seeking abortions at one of the southern state’s three clinics of the United States.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nadya Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova, of Russian feminist protest punk rock group Pussy Riot, offers an interview to AFP after their show at La Trastienda in Montevideo, on April 13, 2019. Image: AFP/Pablo Porciuncula Brune

In May, Alabama lawmakers triggered outrage after pushing through legislation making abortion a felony, even in cases of rape or incest, unless the mother’s health is at risk, punishing doctors with up to 99 years in prison for providing the procedure.

“It is ridiculous to me that it is still a question in 2019 whether women can have an abortion,” Pussy Riot co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova told AFP ahead of the performance.

FEATURED STORIES

“We want to come to Alabama and support women who are in quite a critical and vulnerable position right now,” she said. “Many Americans, they believe that Russia is a patriarchal country, it is true in a lot of ways, but when it comes to abortion rights, it is not questionable.”

The Soviet Union in 1920 became the first state in the world to legalize abortion, though it was banned under Joseph Stalin for nearly two decades starting in 1936.

An anti-abortion movement does exist in Russia, with activists seizing on the country’s declining population as a reason for a ban, but according to Tolokonnikova it is only “insane, crazy freaks who claim that women do not have right to have an abortion” there.

Though she feels “the United States going backward” the 29-year-old said she sees progress “because activism is blooming and the feminist movement is stronger than any time.”

“The feminist movement today is so strong that it will be able to overcome these obstacles,” the Moscow-based activist said. “Those white, male dudes who are voting against abortion rights, they are part of the history. They are not really relevant.”

She sees legislation like that signed in Alabama as evidence of politicians who are “angry, and desperate,” because they feel that their time (in power) is about to end.”

Activism ‘a mindset’

ADVERTISEMENT

The anarchist Pussy Riot collective has gained international fame for its politically charged performances that see members don balaclavas and skewer everything from the Russian church to the persecution of the country’s gay community.

In 2012, Tolokonnikova was among the members sentenced to two years in a prison colony for “hooliganism and religious hatred,” for performing a song protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite her time in prison, Tolokonnikova says she will never give up activism. “It is a mindset. It is something you cannot really escape. It is a part of me.”

She became a young mother 11 years ago, an experience that gave her “more conviction” in her feminism.

“Having a baby who is a girl definitely convinced me that I should try to make my country and the world a better place for my girl to live in,” she said. “I’m still fighting laws of patriarchal ghosts.”

The ban in Alabama is set to go into effect on Nov. 15.

But the law, which was designed as a challenge to the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide in the U.S., may be blocked in court before then.

“I am looking forward to meeting inspiring people, who are surviving in an environment that is not particularly open to progressive people,” Tolokonnikova said of her upcoming show.

“I like to go to places that are not super obvious to play in,” she said. “I want to support those progressive people who decided to stay in a place like Alabama and make that state more progressive and more open-minded. If I can help just a little bit, I would be really happy to.”

“That is the beauty of art, it can unite people with different views.” HM/JB

RELATED STORIES:

Russian band Pussy Riot to stage Planned Parenthood benefit in Alabama

Tiffany Haddish cancels Atlanta show over abortion law

The hottest entertainment news straight to your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: abortion, abortion ban, Alabama, concert, Protest, Pussy Riot
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our entertainment news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.