Planned Parenthood, the country's largest provider of reproductive health services, is hosting a nationwide livestreaming concert on Saturday, September 10, to promote abortion access. "All Access" features headliner Sia, the five-time Grammy-nominated artist whose infectious "Chandelier" was likely stuck in your head for much of 2014. (She's also playing a concert in Phoenix on October 4.)
"All Access is such an inclusive group that I'm proud to be a part of this. We all need to stand together and be a part of creating the future we hope to see. There is so much support out there for an inclusive, equitable society that it's time we showed our collective power," the Australian singer-songwriter said in a statement released by Planned Parenthood Arizona.
She'll take the stage with eight-time Latin Grammy Award-winning artist Natalia Lafourcade ("En El 2000," "Hasta La Raíz") and comedian Leslie Jones, star of Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live. Jessica Williams, former senior correspondent on Comedy Central's The Daily Show and co-host of the podcast Two Dope Queens, will host the anchor event in Cleveland, Ohio. The concert will be broadcast to viewers at venues around the country, including Club Dwntwn on Central Avenue and Pierce Street.
"All of these people believe in this reproductive rights movement as artists," Tayler Tucker, communications specialist for Planned Parenthood Arizona, tells New Times. "You usually get the same representatives, the Lena Dunhams, so this brings it back to the fact that a lot of women doing this work historically have been women of color."
The concert is presented in partnership with other reproductive health and justice organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU of AZ) and the National Asian Pacific America Women's Forum Arizona (NAPAWF AZ), and the Phoenix viewing party is being organized by Planned Parenthood Arizona's Youth Board. The free, all-ages show will air on multiple screens, while local speakers and patient advocates will address the crowd live. Planned Parenthood Arizona will also register voters on-site.
"Doing a livestream event is really reflective of 'all access' on a mass scale," says 16-year-old Mathilde Rispoli, a Planned Parenthood youth board member. "I hope to see people my age [attend], or people 18-25 who have the ability to vote and want to be more involved in the pro-choice movement but they’re not sure how."
Since 2009, the Arizona legislature has passed nearly 20 laws that create obstacles for both health care providers and women who wish to access not only reproductive services, but sexual health information. Across the U.S., approximately 90 percent of counties don't have abortion providers, meaning women must travel further – sometimes across state lines – or wait longer for a procedure.
"Although we have 'access,' there's no places to go," Rispoli says.
In June, the Supreme Court struck down Whole Woman's Health vs. Hellerstedt, which had imposed severe restrictions on Texas clinics providing abortion care. For pro-choice advocates, the 5-3 ruling was a major step in the fight for access in many states, including Arizona.
"Abortion is not the majority of the work that we do, but we're proud that we do that work because it's important," Tucker says. "One in three women in their lifetime will get an abortion, and most of them happen to already be mothers. The decision that they're making is [for] family planning ... so the ideas we have about what that person [getting an abortion] looks like are completely misconstrued. It's a totally safe medical practice and people need it. By not allowing access, we're putting people in danger."
"All Access: Phoenix," a livestream concert event, runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, at 702 North Central Avenue. Admission to the all-ages show is free, but tickets are required and are available at www.eventbrite.com.
Sia will return to the Valley for a live concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday, October 4.
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