In 2020, singer-songwriter Amanda Shires wrote an essay for rolling stone in which she revealed she had an abortion – a “10 minute” procedure accompanied by frustrating and “invasive” questions.
Despite many questions about why she was having the procedure – which she described as having ‘cells removed’ despite trolls calling it a ‘baby killer’ – Shires wrote at the time: ‘The reasons for which I chose to have an abortion are personal, and they are mine.”
It’s a sentiment that Shires has echoed many times since. In a June 2022 sequel, the artist detailed for rolling stone her experience terminating a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in August 2021. The experience — coupled with the current climate surrounding a person’s right to choose — has further fueled her passion for advocating for abortion rights.
“I decided to write the editorial for rolling stone about my abortion because I feel like de-stigmatizing abortion is helpful, but I also noticed that there was a good chance that we would regress, that we would go in the wrong direction,” explains Shires, who released her new single “Take It Like a Man” this week. at Yahoo Life. “I feel like the God I believe in gave me the brains and the thought and the knowledge to know what I should be able to do with my body. … And I think if I don’t I couldn’t afford to make these decisions wouldn’t have been given to me by some creators in the first place.”
Shires knows that people have different opinions on abortion, which will become almost entirely illegal in Tennessee due to trigger laws if Roe v. Wade is canceled. In fact, the friend who took her for the medical procedure in 2020 ‘didn’t see’ Shires’ abortion the way she did – but she did believe Shires should have the choice to do what is best for them.
“She still took me,” the Grammy winner said. “I think the result was not necessarily a change of heart, but a realization that people make hard choices, or not hard choices, [because] it was an easy choice [for me]. When you’re talking to someone close to you, I think it makes it kind of understandable. … It turned him from being so black and white to being so grey. We are still friends and I know she thinks we should all be allowed to make our own choices. It might not be what his choice would be, but it’s fine.”
It was this connection that inspired the singer’s 2020 song “The Problem.”
“The Problem,” which she sings alongside her husband, country music star Jason Isabell, details a woman deciding to have an abortion. The power track features questions like “Is it even legal here?” and “Do you need a reason why?” The conversational nature of the song, Shires says, was intentional.
“I brought in Jason because I didn’t want to speak for him in an effort to reach more people,” she says. “You need different people and you know he’s a white guy with a bigger platform. We need more people talking about it and more people trying to change mindsets.
Another conversation that 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, when you get pregnant sometimes, if you get pregnant outside the womb, it’s definitely not safe and it’s dangerous,” she notes. “And when it 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 risk losing their lives because of it.
“Your husband may be wifeless and your daughter may have no mother who cares,” she points out.
That’s why she shamelessly uses her voice to express herself.
“My mom instilled in me a fierceness to occupy my space by maintaining my morals and ethics as best I could while realizing that all is not just as it’s supposed to be,” Shires says. “And that makes it rewarding to talk about these things. Because if I didn’t, I couldn’t sleep at night and be if I were to be silenced. I would do something wrong. Let’s be free to be ourselves.
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