Pussy Riot Performed in Alabama Last Night to Protest the State’s Ultra-Restrictive New Abortion Laws

The band debuted their new song "No More Wire Hangers" at the sold-out show.

Pussy Riot performs at Saturn Birmingham on July 11, 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo: David A. Smith/Getty Images.
Pussy Riot performing at Saturn Birmingham on July 11, 2019, in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo: David A. Smith/Getty Images.

Pussy Riot played a show last night in Birmingham, Alabama, to protest the state’s recent passage of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. 

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate demonstrated outside the 500-person venue, while inside the Russian punk band, clad in neon balaclavas and other masks, gave a sold-out performance. The group debuted its new song “No More Wire Hangers” in front of a screen that projected phrases like “Ignorance hurts” and “Against abortion? Don’t have one.” 

Proceeds from the performance are being donated to Planned Parenthood and the Yellowhammer Fund, an organization that aids Alabama women seeking abortions. 

“It is ridiculous to me that it’s still a question in 2019 whether women can have an abortion,” Pussy Riot co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova told AFP prior to the concert. “Many Americans, they believe that Russia is a patriarchal country—it’s true in a lot of ways, but when it comes to abortion rights, it’s not questionable.”

She added that the band wanted to “come to Alabama and support women who are in quite a critical and vulnerable position right now.”

Alabama has emerged as ground zero in the national debate of over abortion in recent months. In May, state lawmakers passed legislation making all abortions, including those stemming from rape or incest, a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. Last month, the state charged a pregnant woman with manslaughter after she was shot in the stomach, resulting in the death of the fetus. (The charges were dropped last week.) 

“I like to go to places that are not super obvious,” Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova told the Associated Press. “I want to support those progressive people who decided to stay in a place like Alabama and make that state more progressive and more open-minded. If I can help just a little bit, I’d be really happy to.”

Tolokonnikova also recently wrote an open letter addressed to “Putin and his cronies,” condemning the Russian leaders for the environmental destruction incurred under their watch.


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