Distribution of emergency contraception and condoms at pop artist’s concert sparks debate and confusion

Conversations about emergency contraception spiked after a recent concert headlined by pop star Olivia Rodrigo in St. Louis. Social media users posted that they had received emergency contraceptive pills and condoms at the concert as part of the singer’s Fund 4 Good initiative, which aims to ensure “an equitable and just future for all women, girls, and people seeking reproductive health freedom.” As part of the initiative, advocacy groups like the Missouri Abortion Fund set up tables outside the concert to hand out information and resources. In response, Missouri State Senator Bill Eigel said they were “horrified” by the event, saying that the singer was “actively harming women in Missouri by championing abortion.” 

Fueled by the association with Rodrigo’s star power and the comments made by a politician, trending social media posts on the topic have received millions of views across nearly all social media platforms. Many of the posts confuse abortion and emergency contraception like the one handed out at the concert; there is also widespread confusion over whether pills like Plan B are legal in all 50 states. 

Recommendation: In a KFF Health Tracking Poll from 2023, more than 70 percent of adults who have heard of Plan B incorrectly said that it can end a pregnancy in its early stages. Social media posts after Rodrigo’s concert also illustrate this confusion. Messaging on public health websites and informational materials may emphasize the difference between birth control, Plan B, and the abortion pill: The birth control pill is a prescribed medication that keeps you from getting pregnant. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that can reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex. The abortion pill is the only one among the three that can be used to end a pregnancy in its early stages. The same poll from last year also indicated that more than half of women who live in states where abortion is banned did not know that Plan B was still legal in their state. Ensuring that information about the legality of emergency contraception is clear and accessible is recommended.