In 2020, singer-songwriter Amanda Shires wrote an essay for rolling stone in which she revealed she’d had an abortion — a “10-minute” procedure that involved frustrating and “invasive” questions.
Despite many questions as to why she underwent the procedure — which she described as “cells removed” despite trolls calling her a “baby killer” — Shires wrote at the time, “The reasons I chose to have an abortion are personal, and they are mine.”
It’s a sentiment that Shires has repeated many times since. In a June 2022 follow-up, the artist detailed for rolling stone her experience ending a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in August 2021. The experience — coupled with the current climate surrounding a person’s right to choose — fueled her passion for championing abortion rights.
“I decided to write the opinion for rolling stone about my abortion because I feel that helping to destigmatize abortion, but I also noticed that there was a good chance we were going backwards and in the wrong direction,” explains Shires, who released her new single “Take It Like a Man” this week. to Yahoo Life. “I feel like the God I believe in has given me the brain, the mind, and the knowledge to know what I should be able to do with my body… And I think if I don’t had the resources to make those decisions they wouldn’t have given me by some creators in the first place.”
Shires knows that people have different opinions about abortion, which will become almost completely illegal in Tennessee as a result of legal provisions if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In fact, the friend who took her to the medical procedure in 2020 didn’t “see” Shires’ abortion the way she did — but she did believe that Shires should have the choice to do what’s best for her.
“She took me anyway,” says the Grammy winner. “I think the result wasn’t necessarily a change of mind, but a realization that people make hard choices, or no hard choices, [because] it was an easy choice [for me]† If you’re talking to someone close to you, I think it’s kind of understandable. … It changed from so black and white to so gray. We’re still friends and I know she thinks we should all make our own choices. It may not be what her choice would be, but it’s all good.”
It was that connection that inspired the singer’s 2020 song “The Problem.”
‘The Problem’, which she sings with her husband, fellow countryman Jason Isabell, describes a woman who decides to have an abortion. The powerful track includes questions like, “Is it even legal here?” and “Do you need a reason?” The easy-going nature of the song, Shires says, was intentional.
“I brought Jason in because I didn’t want to speak on his behalf in a way to reach more people,” she says. “You need other people and you know he’s a white man with a bigger platform. We need more people talking about it and more people trying to change their mind.”
Another conversation Shires is more than open to? One with the couple’s six-year-old daughter, Mercy. She explained her ectopic pregnancy and why it had to end.
“I explained to her that you know that sometimes if you do get pregnant, if you do get pregnant outside of the womb, it’s definitely not safe and dangerous,” she notes. “And when that happened to me, she knows it was a life-or-death moment.”
Ultimately, Shires is concerned about the future of abortion rights — and wants more people to stand up for freedom of choice. She knows there will be people like her who may not have easy access to an abortion — those who could lose their lives because of it.
“Your husband may not have a wife and your daughter may not have a mother who cares,” she stresses.
That’s why she brazenly uses her voice to speak out.
“My mother instilled in me a ferocity to occupy my space in order to maintain my morals and ethics as best she could, while at the same time realizing that not all is fair as it should be,” says Shires. “And it’s satisfying to talk about these things. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sleep and be at night when I was silenced. I would do something false. Let’s be free to be ourselves.”
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