Why Olivia Rodrigo has withdrawn free contraception at her gigs

The singer was praised for offering fans condoms and Plan B, but it was swiftly pulled

Olivia Rodrigo banned from handing out contraception at gigs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Olivia Rodrigo made headlines last week for providing her fans with free contraception at her US gigs. She played at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri as part of her ongoing Guts tour and was praised encouraging positive sexual health by handing out condoms, lubrication and the emergency contraceptive pill. In the state of Missouri abortion is illegal except in 'cases of medical emergency'.

However, just days after the news went viral it was announced that her fans would no longer be given the free contraception as 'children are present at the concerts' and Olivia's team was conflicted about how it would be construed. Despite praise for the move, she also faced backlash on social media from rightwing commentators who called her a 'high priestesses of child sacrifice' and a 'satanic (abortion) industry plant'. While contraception will no longer be distributed, information, T-shirts and badges will still be provided by the National Network of Abortion Funds which teamed up with Olivia to create booths at all of her US shows amidst limitations across the country. 

Chair of the Prairie Abortion Fund, Destini Spaeth, told Variety that the decision to pull free contraception at Olivia's gigs was disappointing, saying: "There is something really positive about a 16- or 15-year-old having a Plan B and a few condoms in her dresser to use as she needs it. Sex and sexual health tools, whether that be abortion, Plan B, condoms, are villainised because you’re [seen as being] promiscuous. We don’t look at it as a sign of responsibility. [But] if the kids aren’t getting the education they need in school, at least they can rely on reproductive health organisations in their communities to get that information and resources to them."

In the same report, the DC Abortion Fund's Communications Manager Jade Hurley added: "It's disappointing that extremists are causing a moral panic over something they don’t even understand."

Olivia had set up the Fund 4 Good initiative in conjunction with her world tour to create 'an equitable and just future for all women, girls and people seeking reproductive health freedom'. The site page reads: "For the North American GUTS world tour, Olivia will partner with local chapters of the National Network of Abortion Funds to ensure those most impacted by systemic racism, misogyny, and healthcare barriers can get the reproductive care they deserve."

Olivia has not yet commented publicly on the withdrawal of free contraception at her gigs. 

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.