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Olivia Rodrigo at her most recent tour in Missouri, holding a red megaphone

Good 4 U: Why We Support Olivia Rodrigo Handing Out Emergency Contraception

Damn, it’s brutal out here. Pop star, Glossier collaborator and our personal inspiration for finally getting our driving licence at the ripe age of 34, Olivia Rodrigo has embarked on a major US tour - and it’s causing quite the ruckus. The reason? Free birth control

What happened on Olivia Rodrigo’s tour?

Where you might expect confetti cannons at a pop concert, Olivia Rodrigo teamed up with The National Network of Abortion Funds to work with local abortion organisations, who held pop ups on-site to hand out condoms and morning after pills to fans in Missouri, the state with the strictest abortion laws in the US. Sadly, just one day later, these organisations were told that they could no longer hand out free emergency contraception, lubricant, sexual health resources or condoms at future gigs as ‘children are present at the concerts’. This decision was apparently made by Rodrigo’s team - but no further public comment has been made from her camp at this time.

HANX Co-Founder and OB-GYN expert Dr Sarah Welsh has helped sexually active folk, old and young, navigate their contraceptive journey in sexual health clinics and had this to say,

“It’s really important to see high profile names such as Olivia Rodrigo championing reproductive rights, especially as there is a real move to restrict access to contraception and abortion services across the US. We need to encourage a proactive approach to engaging with your sexual health and open conversation around medical resources, so it’s a real shame to see this initiative has stopped so soon.”

So, after a huge amount of positive publicity, why are condoms not granted a front row seat at Olivia’s gigs anymore? Well, there’s a huge stigma that seeing, hearing or talking about contraception encourages promiscuity in young people. As Jade Hurley, communications manager at NNAF said to Variety, “The reality is that youth have sex, and youth need access to birth control and emergency contraception. What we’re doing is completely legal in all 50 states.”

Why is abortion banned in Missouri?

In 2023, the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. Just minutes later, Miossuri’s Attorney General announced a trigger law is now in effect, has the consequence that Missouri has one the strictest bans on abortion in the United States of America. Its only exceptions are medical emergencies that threaten the life of the pregnant person. It gets worse - in February 2024, the red state’s senators further voted against amending the state’s strict abortion law to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. Seen the furore online over the law which prevents divorce during pregnancy? Yep, that’s Missouri, too. Protestors are currently pushing back, calling to enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution, whilst allowing the GOP-led legislature to regulate after the point of viability. 

So, why is the morning after pill controversial?

You might have heard passionate diatribes against the morning after pill, so let’s get into that. Some people, often due to religious beliefs, wrongly argue that emergency contraception, such as Plan B, Julie or EllaOne, causes an abortion. This is not true. Contrary to popular belief, the morning after pill is not an abortifacient - instead, it works to prevent conception altogether.

How does the morning after pill work?

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you were using failed, such as missing a pill or your condom splitting. There are two types, including the emergency contraceptive pill (commonly known as the morning after pill). The morning after pill is the most common form of emergency contraception, and is widely available. It contains hormones that help prevent pregnancy if taken in a short window after having unprotected sex.

The morning after pill doesn’t prevent a pregnancy that has already implanted, but it does reduce the risk of someone becoming pregnant after having unprotected sex.

It does this by:

  • preventing or delaying ovulation.
  • blocking fertilisation or keeping fertilised eggs away from implanting in the uterus.

If you have already ovulated within your current cycle, or are currently ovulating, then the pill won’t be able to delay ovulation.

How much is the morning after pill?

In the US, Plan B One-Step usually costs about $40-50, whilst Julie, the emergency contraceptive pill handed out at Olivia Rodrigo concerts, is $42.44. In the UK, you can buy Ella-One for around £30 in-person at pharmacies/chemists on your high street such as Boots, or via digital pharmacies, including HANX for a similar cost.

Where can I get the morning after pill for free?

In the US, you can get emergency contraception at:

  • In Missouri, St Louis Department of Health offers free emergency contraception kits, which can be picked up at the health department’s communicable disease bureau.
  • Planned Parenthood, where it is often free or low cost 
  • Via Medicaid or your health insurance 
  • Local family planning clinics

In the UK, you can get the ‘morning after pill’ for free at your local NHS sexual health clinic or GP.

Just like a pill

Put simply, we applaud Olivia Rodrigo for standing up for reproductive rights, especially in Missouri, and call on her team to reinstate the initiative. Being subject to extremist pressure is no doubt frustrating, and even frightening, but collectively, we can stand together to challenge the:

  • Systemic barriers to accessing free reproductive care in the US, including socio-economic background
  • Draconian attitudes towards our sexual health, especially for women and LGBTQIA+ community
  • Denial of our bodily autonomy, a basic human right

    One thing’s for sure: it takes GUTS to stand up for reproductive freedom...

Want more?

  • Are you ready for an OB-GYN’s perspective on crumbling abortion rights in the US? Read more.
  • Watch Plan C, the powerful documentary about abortion pill access in the US, here.
  • Prep ahead. Order the emergency contraception pill (it has up to a three year shelf life!) with discreet delivery at

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