AUSTIN (KXAN) — Music superstar Billie Eilish made waves during her Saturday night set at the Austin City Limits Festival by taking aim at Texas’ new restrictive abortion laws — revealing she almost pulled out of the iconic music event because of its passage.
In between performances, the “Bad Guy” singer and Grammy-winner shot the middle finger and could be heard saying, “When they made that s— a law, I almost didn’t want to do the show. Because I wanted to punish this f—— place for allowing that to happen here.”
The comments refer to Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy and before many people even realize they’re pregnant. The polarizing Republican-led bill snagged global headlines after going into effect Sept. 1, becoming the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S.
While it’s received praise from conservatives, opponents say it’s a full-on abortion ban disguised as a limitation.
SB 8 also does not include exceptions for victims of rape or incest. In response to detractors, Gov. Greg Abbott said the law gives rape victims the six-week period to get an abortion and thus “does not do that [force victims to have their assaulter’s child].” Instead, Abbott said Texas would “eliminate” rapists. The comments were widely ridiculed and debated, as many argue there’s not a realistic way to do this.
The bill also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion. Critics say this would put a bounty on people’s heads and encourage frivolous lawsuits. Citizens can be sued for $10,000 or more if an abortion is performed outside of the six-week period.
The 19 year-old Eilish explained on Saturday that she ultimately decided against cancelling her festival performance because it wouldn’t be fair to her fans, Yahoo! News reports.
“You deserve everything in the world,” she told Saturday’s crowd in Zilker Park. “And we need to tell them to shut the f— up!” Eilish finished her speech by exclaiming: “My body, my f—— choice!”
At least 35 Texas cities hosted hosted Women’s March protests against the bill earlier on Saturday, including Austin, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, McAllen and Abilene. Events were held in 49 other states, including in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. One event will also be held overseas in Madrid, Spain.
The second weekend of ACL Fest will begin Friday.