BREAKING: OMFG Justin Bieber is anti-choice

justin bieber

Okay okay, I know it’s hardly “breaking,” but considering everyone and their mother is scarily obsessed with the teen pop star (I’ll admit my out-of-date ass couldn’t name one of his songs), it’s not something not to be concerned about; it’s already getting a decent amount of pick-up on gossip blogs. Sigh. In his recent Rolling Stone interview:

“I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber says. “It’s like killing a baby?” How about in cases of rape? “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

Wack. Let’s just hope he doesn’t become some sort of anti-choice poster boy. (Massive legislative attacks? Pshhh) Then we’d be really fucked.

Via.

Update: Rolling Stone corrects that Bieber added, “I don’t know how that would be a reason” after his answer to the second question.

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  • nonawa

    On the plus side, he seems to be pro-free healthcare!

  • http://feministing.com/members/bethany/ Bethany KJ

    I don’t know if his statement constitutes an anti-choice position. “I haven’t been in that position so I wouldn’t be able to judge that” is exactly why I’m pro-choice.

  • http://feministing.com/members/mlemac28/ Emily

    He sounds like a typical uninformed teenager. Since the “STOP KILLING BABIES!” crowd is the loudest, people who don’t really pay attention usually just go with that rhetoric. The vagueness of the statement “I don’t really believe in abortion” sounds like what the majority of my health class sounded like in ninth grade. It’s a vague statement. I mean, abortion isn’t something to believe in like Santa Claus, it happens whether we like it or not. Most of the people in my health class eventually became pro-choice after getting a better taste of real life and seeing a friend accidentally get pregnant, or finding out that an adult whom they admire actually had an abortion years earlier. Also, I think a basic biology lesson in fetus development, and the knowledge that the vast majority of abortions take place in those early stages helps.

  • http://feministing.com/members/zoey/ Zoe

    This was one of the first things I saw when I woke up today.
    *facepalm*

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    Vanessa, he’s young. This is not to detract from what you were saying. It makes me sad as well. But I wasn’t even close to having a final opinion on anything at that age. There was so much I had yet to experience for myself. He’s still got potential, in my book.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dpruth/ Daniel

    I’m a pastor, and I think that “everything happens for a reason” is about the most naive and hurtful thing that can be said. Not that Bieber is known for his nuanced intellectual view on life… Sad.

  • http://feministing.com/members/eddiebarbarian/ kristen

    While I think the question was asked specifically to stir the pot, Bieber’s answers were naive. “Everything happens for a reason” when spoken referencign rape is just victim blaming.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    This is exactly why I’ve always hated the phrase “things happen for a reason”. I was dismayed that most of the commenters at HuffPo just seemed elated about the healthcare stuff and ignored this.

    The “reason” rape happens? Because rapists are sociopathic monsters who exert control over people by sexual means.

    What bothers me the most is the idea of some teenage fan of his, who has suffered through some sort of sexual abuse, reading his remarks may just reinforce to them that it was “okay” for this to be done. :(

  • http://feministing.com/members/goddessjaz/ goddessjaz

    SMH…as someone who has done entertainment PR I think the line of questioning is ridiculous, irrelevant and essentially shit-stirring. If I was Bieber’s publicist, I would be pissed because there’s no “right” answer to this question for him. What was the author/interviewer’s point in asking him that? I would have shut that question down right then and there, that’s their job. It’s also framed in such a way that we don’t understand the context of the conversation (as usual). While I wish that he said something more intelligent about rape I agree with Emily, he is uninformed. What does he really know about abortion and rape in women’s day-to-day lives as a sheltered 16 year old pop star? He can’t be very much in touch with reality or honestly interested in the nuances of the abortion debate and politics.

    • http://feministing.com/members/josephl/ Joseph Lillo

      Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bieber’s publicist was too stunned to do anything because this was the first serious question he had ever been asked.

      But seriously, he doesn’t strike me as someone who knows all that much about the world about him; he did also say, when asked about his political affiliation, that “I’m not sure about the parties. But whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad.” These quotes do strike me a bit like Britney Spears’ “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens” quote: while the political implications are problematic (and Britney’s quote is problematic no matter the president), it’s more about the ignorance brought to the fore.

      • http://feministing.com/members/josephl/ Joseph Lillo

        (in the first sentence, “he” is Bieber. Not assuming that Bieber’s publicist(s) is/are male here)

  • http://feministing.com/members/unitedbiskets/ Lauren

    I saw this this morning and my heart sank momentarily because Bieber is almost perfect in maintaining his public image and I love him, but then I remembered I’d thought about it before and already assumed he was pro-life. He comes from a very Christian household. I follow his mother on Twitter and she mostly tweets Bible quotes. I had to remember that I was pro-life at his age too. Mainly because I’d never met a pregnant person who didn’t want a baby, and I used to default to my Catholic upbringing on issues where I lacked an opinion. I’d just never thought about it, and I doubt he has either. That’s why I’m hesitant to label him anti-choice–I’m sure he’s never considered actually telling a woman who wants an abortion that she shouldn’t be able to have one. He sounds like he was trying to come up with the “right” answer, knowing that his mom and the rest of the world were listening. I am mostly bothered by the reporter putting a kid publicly on the spot like that on such a heated issue. It took years for my opinion to mature, and I have to remind myself he is just a kid.

  • http://feministing.com/members/trishm/ trish

    I am wondering why a writer for Rolling Stone even thought of asking Justin that question. It seems so out of place to ask a 16(?) year old boy, who is being interviewed because he is a popular singer, about his views on abortion. Were they really out of questions to ask him and just decided a question on his views of abortion sounded good?…I just think Justin is just ignorant on the issue of abortion (and rape).
    I could see his statement about abortion as not stating that he is “pro-life.” I know plenty of people who don’t agree with abortion but still believe that a woman has the right to choose.

  • http://feministing.com/members/juliamarisa/ Julia

    I doubt he’s ever given any real thought to rape or abortion as concrete issues that actually happen to actual people. As a sixteen year old white male who’s doing pretty damn well for himself he doesn’t have a reason to consider abortion …or rape as anything other than abstract ideas with seemingly simple answers that he heard from somebody else. I certainly hadn’t given much thought to this stuff when I was sixteen. I’m not so angry with him for being ignorant as I am with the society that allows and encourages him not to think about it. And based on the quotes I can access without paying, its pretty obvious he has no idea what he’s talking about and seemed to have been caught pretty off guard. Rolling Stone appears to have asked him to consider something really complex and come to a conclusion in a matter of seconds. Under that kind of pressure, I would probably say something really stupid too.

    Hopefully the backlash he’ll get from this will lead him to start to actually consider the realities of abortion and rape, start to realize how little he actually knows, publicly apologize for being an asswipe, and encourage the millions of girls who will believe anything he says to start thinking about it too.

  • http://feministing.com/members/briarmoss/ Alexander

    I have a lot more feelings of animosity towards the interviewer than I do towards Justin Bieber. What an asshat.

  • http://feministing.com/members/ellid/ lisa evans

    Not surprising at all. Evidently both Bieber and his mother are devout evangelical Christians.

  • http://feministing.com/members/wildefan/ Lily

    Considering how Christian his mother, I’m kind of pleasantly surprised by Bieber’s reply. His mother being the one who almost refused to let Scooter Braun sign her son because he was Jewish. Also, since his mother had him at age 18 as a single teenage mother, it’s not that surprising that Bieber might view young women aborting fetuses as personally upsetting. It also might explain his “everything happens for a reason” statement, which probably comes off as ridiculous to others.
    But really he’s just a kid, once he goes to one of the many liberal arts schools he’s applying to, he’ll probably change his mind about this issue.

  • http://feministing.com/members/kaelin/ Matt

    When I was a 16-year old pop star (or rather a kid not really concerned much with sexuality, particularly beyond his own), I didn’t exactly have the most progressive policy on abortion — I was ready to allow exceptions for reasonable health/risk reasons, and for rape (which generally covers incest). I hadn’t given any thought to how consent could be undercut (like with drugs), so I didn’t really understand the breadth of rape, nor had I considered how a condition of rape could make abortion qualification unenforceable (not to mention making it impossible to prosecute rape itself). Now I would have it be legal (even for minors without parental consent) up to viability, and after viability I would look towards having an early delivery if it can be accomplished without harm to the woman and baby — at that point, I don’t know see why it would make sense to have an abortion (provided the woman and baby do not suffer harm), and generally speaking there are plenty of capable adults ready to adopt the child (or at least there are provided the baby-to-be doesn’t have serious cognitive/health problems) — although if there are ways this limitation can backfire, I have my ears open. So, I went for limiting abortion to exceptions up to allowing it in roughly the first two trimesters… plus being willing to have the government shell out a lot more financial support to would-be-mothers.

    Indeed, opinions can change, especially as people transition from childhood to adulthood. People get exposed to a lot more ideas, and they can become free of the potentially firm control of one or more legal guardians. But even if Bieber was 40, he’s still a pop star without any major insight on this issue. I think goddessjaz’s comment does well to point out that when you get people talking about things outside of their expertise or comfort zone, they tend to make remarks of substandard quality, and people shouldn’t take those remarks so seriously (especially when the topics themselves are quite serious). While any person is made up of their entirety, we should pay most attention to areas where they take the initiative. I think we would do well just to ignore Bieber here (and let him grow up) since he was the one receiving the questions, whereas a musical group that wears “purity rings” to promote abstinence is fair game (I hear South Park had a pretty good episode about that one).

  • http://feministing.com/members/sschoice/ ssc-athens

    Can’t say I really know enough about Justin besides he’s had an image of a squeaky-clean boy pop star, probably cloned from a variant the same genetic stock that produced wholesome, traditional-family-friendly pop stars for tweens since Donny Osmond of the Osmond “family”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmond_Brothers

    …and one can go back before this and find pop stars who tried to project a “clean” rock-and-roll image, including variants in ’60s US pop stars and the “British Invasion”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Invasion

    …where pop stars like the Beatles were positioned as more girl- and family-friendly than more overtly sexual bands like the Rolling Stones, and later in the 60s especially when the Beatles got more into politics and talked about drug use other pop bands came along who were completely devoid of overt references to sex, drugs, and politics. See also “The Archies,” et al. Bieber’s image as a cartoon character would have fit in perfectly in an Archie comic strip or cartoon music video.

    So Justin Bieber is a real human being, a 16-year-old young man who wants to sound like he cares about women who may be pregnant and don’t want to be, and who emphatically don’t want to carry their pregnancy to term. It sounds like he could be trying to care, especially where he talks about how he understands that their experience is outside the realm of his experience and that really limits his ability to empathize, much less judge them for their actions.

    The best way to help someone who may have an open mind like that is to have someone who he sees as a peer talk to him about their experience in helping a girl he can empathize with, maybe somewhat like him, who he could imagine to be of his peer group, who is having to deal with a pregnancy they don’t want to carry to term. And it should be an example of a pregnancy which occurred in a more common context, which means that it’s the product of some sort of consensual relationship, and not the product of a sexual assault nor a case where the peer’s life would be threatened by continuing with the pregnancy.

    If anything could help Justin Bieber better empathize with and be willing to play a supportive role with peers facing similar situations, it would be to have a dialogue with a peer who has had experience in doing that. It would be better for him to talk with someone who has had experience with helping a peer than it would be for him to talk with someone who say had personally had an abortion because it’s more important for him to understand how someone else might feel it a moral choice, if not an obligation to help a peer like that, while if he talks with a peer who has had an abortion and didn’t regret it he might feel more like trying to “save” her or tell her something like Jesus will forgive you, etc.

    The challenge might not be so much changing Justin’s mind about that as it would be to find someone who Justin might see as a peer willing to talk with him about it, and able to make it through his handlers to do so.

    If anyone wants ideas on how to do THAT, go back to the British Invasion link above and look more closely at that history. There were many examples from that era of girls who dressed up as hotel clerks, who hid underneath room service carts, etc, to try to meet the “Fab Four” (the Beatles) or any number of other boy-band clones. There’s lot of ways for creative, motivated fans to meet pop stars and have a few words in dialogue with them. We can’t be sure that doing something like that would change Justin’s mind, but hey it would get his attention in a flattering way, and for a boy pop star, that would be a start!

  • http://feministing.com/members/hbauser/ Haley

    First, I would like to state that his age shouldn’t be a factor of whether or not he has views. Many teenagers (I like to think of myself as someone in this group) are very politically involved and dismissing their ideas as “uninformed” or “not evolved”, although sometimes true, really denigrates an entire generation. Just because one person did not contemplate these complex ideas during their teenage years does not mean that my entire generation is incapable of doing so.

    However, the interviewer did set him up for failure and should not have asked him this question at all. There was really no right answer for him. He, like many young girls (think Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears), has also been confined to a certain standard of purity. He has to keep this “wholesome” and “Christian” image. His statement really is not surprising.

    His statement about rape is really most disheartening. The media should be doing more to inform everyone, including teenage pop stars, about the true cruelties of rape. The fact that he can not address that as an issue and sums it up with the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is the real tragedy. This leaves the question: What can we as a society do to change the general public’s perception of rape?

  • http://feministing.com/members/radicaldesi/ Radical Desi

    My issue with this is not that Justin Bieber is “anti-choice.” I really don’t like how this article is framed. Firstly, why are we asking people like Justin Bieber about things like abortion and women’s rights? He’s a 16-year-old pop star who has lived in a vaccum of pre-teen and teen celebrity-ness for several years now. The other thing to consider is that he is that his mother had him when she was just a teenager. I am vehemently pro-choice and usually an article like this outrages me, but in this case I say – shame on rolling stone for asking Justin Bieber serious questions like this. Now people everywhere are going to actually care what he thinks about reproductive rights.