An Analysis of the Representation of Abortion in Music

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Abortion is the most controversial social problem around the world. It cannot be compared to other social issues since the public opinions regarding the issue tends to have the same weight.  Those who support abortion also known as the pro-choice group have convincing reasons as to why abortion should be legalized. At the same time, opposes of abortion also cite credible reasons based on religious and moral teachings. I am interested in studying how the abortion issue is represented in music to determine if the common themes on abortion and their treatment in music. For this assignment, five songs that address the issue of abortion either in support or opposition are analyzed.


            Out of the five songs reviewed for this paper, two primary themes emerge; one is the labeling of abortion as a sin, and the other is about the rights of mothers to decide what to do with their bodies. The themes bring out a debate on whether it is right to abort or not. Three songs "$19.99 A.D." by Qwel (Adam Vincent Scheiber) featuring Robust, "Abortion" by Dough E. Fresh (Douglas Davis and the Get Fresh Crew and "Baby's Gone" by Heavens to Betsy demonize the act of abortion and call on listeners to consider the unborn children as creatures with the right to live. The language used in "19.99 A.D." and "Abortion" are strong vocabularies aimed at appealing to the listeners' emotions as well as their logic to see the need to stop abortion. Qwel, for instance, sings that "A stream of fetus liquid bleeding' victims hate crucifixions" to paint a horrific picture of abortion in the minds of the listeners and discourage them from supporting it (Schreiber, 2001, track 14). Similarly Dough E. Fresh tells girls who kill newborn babies that they must be crazy in disapproval of the act and Heaven to Betsy describe a girl who dies on a knitting needle as a way of depicting the risks of unsafe abortion.

            Although the three songs that discourage abortion were released in different periods, they carry the same message an indication that abortion has been a social issue for the longest time ever. Moreover, all the songs are all emotionally appealing and evoke a sense of sadness for the loss of life due to abortion.

            The two songs in support of abortion; "6794700" by Birmingham 6 and "Amendment"  by Ani DiFranco both focus on the promotion of women rights to have an abortion as they wish. However, the two songs employ different approaches to the issue with " 6794700" focusing on condemning the Catholic church on its pro-life position while "Amendment" seeking to encourage legalization of abortion so that each woman chooses when to and not to have one.           These songs employ the use of strong vocabularies just like the pro-life ones with the aim of appealing to the logic and emotions of listeners. "Amendment" released in 2012 represents a more advanced and liberal view of abortion compared to "6794700" which concentrates on mocking the church for discouraging abortion. The "6794700" song released in 1994 includes abusive words as an expression of opposition to the Catholic church's position on abortion.

The View of Other Analysts

            In a review of abortion and Rap music, Koloze, (2013) reveals that abortion is a significant topic in rap music and it is mostly a concern for minority rappers with African American rappers devoting more attention to abortion in full-length songs compared to their white counterparts. Apart from that, abortion in rap music is presented as a rebellion to social norms in a liberal society that seeks to grant its people all sorts of rights.

             In another discussion on how music is used to handle the abortion issue, Ketola, (2017) presents that music can heal the hearts of people wounded by abortion. Ketola, (2017), analyzes the latest songs by Steve Siler which are aimed at relieving the pain of parents who aborted a child, those who hid abortion and to provide rest from grief for parents who regret missing their children's birthdays due to abortion. Although both analyses by Koloze, (2013) and Ketola, (2017) tackle the central themes surrounding abortion, they differ from my review in that they provide different perspectives of music and abortion. For instance, Koloze, (2013) relates to abortion and music to racial stereotypes while Ketola, (2017) concentrates on the value of music as a healing tool for people wounded by abortion.

The Peer Reviewed Article

            In their study, Premkumar et al., (2017) seek to establish how abortion is represented in contemporary music, and their research question is "how is abortion represented in contemporary music?" (p. 30). The study design involves analysis of content specifically lyrics of contemporary rap music. The findings identify equating abortion with sin, murder or genocide, use of abortion and braggadocio, an association of birth control services with abortion and pressure put on women by men to seek abortion as the main themes. These findings are significant for my research in that they add to the list of ideas that musicians develop around the abortion issue. Moreover, the conclusion by Prekumar et al., (2017) that the marginalized community is more concerned with moral and ethical themes around abortion is primarily addressed in the five songs analyzed in the current review.


            This review has brought into light several aspects surrounding the use of music in the abortion debate. The study also reveals that the development of American popular culture still lies on the base of race with minority ethnic communities seeming more concerned with some problems like abortion compared to the majority ethnic group. Moreover, the review indicates that there is limited knowledge of the black community's perspectives on abortion.


        Birmingham Six. (1994). 6794700 [Recorded by TransFiXion Records]. On Mindhallucination.                                     [Online].  Essex: TransFiXion Records.

         Davis, D. (1986). Abortion [Recorded by Ollie Cotton & Dennis Bell]. On Oh, My God! [Online].                 New York:  Danya/Reality/Fantasy Records.

          Heavens to Betsy. (1992). Baby's Gone [Recorded by Heavens to Betsy]. On Demo. [Online].                             Washington: Chainsaw.

          Ketola, K. (2017). Music soothing hearts broken by abortion - Cradle My Heart. Retrieved from                          

          Koloze, J. (2013). Abortion and Rap Music: A Literary Study of the Lyrics of Representative Rap             Songs [Ebook] (pp. 103-117). Retrieved from

          Maria, A. (2012). Amendment [Recorded by Ani DiFranco] On ¿Which Side Are You On?. [Online].                 New York: Righteous Babe.

          Premkumar, A., Brown, K., Mengesha, B., & Jackson, A. (2017). Abortion and contemporary hip-              hop: a thematic analysis of lyrics from 1990–2015. Contraception. doi:                                                 10.1016/j.contraception.2017.05.002

         Schreiber, A. (2001). $19.99 A.D. [Recorded by White Lightening Productions]. On If it Ain't Been in                       a Pawn Shop, Then it Can't Play the Blues. [Online]. Swansea.

October 05, 2023
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Abortion Pro Choice Pro Life

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