Singer Amanda Palmer's new single “Voicemail for Jill” is being lauded by fans for addressing abortion, but some see its dark lyrics as having an unexpectedly pro-life message.
Palmer, a 42-year-old musician and frequent promoter of Planned Parenthood, said she’d been trying to write a song about abortion for over 20 years, but found it to be an impossible task until she was on tour in Dublin last year during Ireland’s abortion referendum.
The song is about her friend “Jill” in Boston who’s struggling with her decision to have an abortion. Palmer, who’s in London, leaves her a supportive voicemail letting her know that she’s not the only woman to experience the “Hell” of going through an abortion, which she described as “the hardest decision.” She reassures Jill and says when she returns home she’ll throw her the “best abortion shower” since she won't be having a baby shower.
Palmer said she “wrote this song as a gift, a handbook for any woman on her way to have an abortion,” according to Paste magazine.
Here are some of the lyrics: (read in full here):
But no one’s gonna celebrate you
No one’s gonna bring you cake
And no one’s gonna shower you with flowers
The doctor won’t congratulate you
No one on that pavement’s gonna
Shout at you that your heart also matters
It’s a strange grief but it’s grief
Look at all the women in the street
You know the statistics, Jill
Even though they may not help Isn’t it amazing
How we can never tell
Who is in an identical Hell
I can bring some friends if you want us to come
We can bring you cake and we can bring you flowers
We can bring you wine and we can talk for hours
Ukulele by request
We’ll throw you the best
The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles said on his podcast Wednesday that although Palmer probably didn’t intend for the song to have a pro-life message, he believes it does because it highlights just how harmful abortion is for both the mother and the baby.
“There is this crazy song that is making the rounds right now … singling about how we ought to have baby showers for abortions. Baby showers for the babies that we are about to kill,” Knowles said.
“It’s a jarring song. The song is making a pro-life argument. She (Palmer) doesn’t think it’s making a pro-life argument. She thinks that she’s suggesting baby showers for people who kill their babies. … This is a cry for help in a perverted culture,” he asserted.
“Why have you been in Hell for a month?" Knowles asked. “Because you’re thinking about killing your baby and there’s a part of you that is your conscience which is telling you that it is wrong to kill your baby. That’s why you’ve been in Hell for a month. Maybe there’s a reason for all of that. The song unintentionally explains those reasons."
Palmer said she wrote “Voicemail for Jill” for her solo album, There will be no intermission, because she wanted to put into words the thoughts she was having and emotions she was experiencing each time she decided to have an abortion.
“After trying to write this song for 23 god---- years, off and on, it wasn't until I went to Dublin and found myself in the company of Irish women who had fought with blood, sweat and tears for their human rights that it all clicked,” said Palmer. … “Abortion is a really, really hard thing to write about. The hardest. Impossible.”
In 2015, Palmer wrote an open letter to her fans about her pregnancy and her fears that motherhood might hinder her creativity. She also revealed in the piece that she previously had three abortions. “I had my first abortion at 17, senior year of high school, and I’ve had two more in the 22 years since, for varying complicated reasons,” she wrote in a piece published by Medium. “Though I don’t regret them, those were some of the hardest, darkest decisions and days of my life.”
Writing for NewsBusters, a news site operated by conservative media watchdog group the Media Research Center, Alexa Moutevelis Coombs raised concerns that abortion showers might become a new trend. She also took issue with Palmer’s lyrics that suggest pro-life life sidewalk counselors don’t care about the women who've decide to have an abortion.
“Let's dispel with the ridiculous notion that peaceful pro-lifers holding vigil outside abortion facilities don't care about both mother and child, offer resources for both during and after pregnancy, and offer post-abortion counseling,” she wrote in response to the lyrics that say: “No one on that pavement’s gonna / Shout at you that your heart also matters.”
The Christian Post has reported on pregnancy centers across the U.S. that help women both during their pregnancies and after their babies have been born. You can read more about a few of those centers here, here and here.
On Saturday, many pro-life activists will be holding the first national Day of Mourning that urges business owners to wear black and close their shops to observe a day of repentance following New York’s law legalizing abortion up to birth. Americans who identify as pro-life also are being asked to refrain from shopping on that day.
“On February 23, there’s going to be a national day of mourning. What will happen on that day is nationwide we are encouraging people to do what we did here (in New York). Shut your business down, don’t collect sales tax that day, wear black, repent for our own apathy on this issue of abortion overall,” Jon Speed, owner of Jon Speed: The Book Scout in Syracuse told The Christian Post.
Speed, who called New York’s Reproductive Health Act “revolting,” also is a pastor of Christ Is King Baptist Church. He has been in mourning since Jan. 22 and drew the attention of pro-life supporters when he shut down his business in protest on Jan. 23.
“The focus is New York state, we want the citizens of New York to express their displeasure with this thing and do more than just say, go to a March for Life rally or do more than give $5 to a pro-life lobbyist, but actually be involved in something that’s not just a pep rally. … There comes a point where you gotta say enough blood’s been shed.”
The Day of Mourning will culminate in with a rally at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York, from 1 p.m.–3 p.m. on Feb. 23.