Taekman: Making All Access accessible to all

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Murderer. Baby killer. Cruel. Heartless.

Not really things I expected to be called as I walked into what I had—at the time—thought was just a free concert— All Access 2016 with Sia and Leslie Jones. As I entered the stadium and was greeted by shirts, buttons and condoms all calling for equal access to abortion nationwide, it became blatantly clear that the event was less of a Sia concert and more of a pro-choice rally.

Personally, I was fine with all the pro-choice propaganda and words of support. I’m pro-choice, along with everyone else in my hometown—abortion isn’t taboo to me. But talking to people after the event, I was surprised to see anger and discomfort surrounding the event.

“That wasn’t the concert I was promised,” people cried. “They trapped me there by not warning me. If I had known, I wouldn’t have come. All Access should have told people that it was going to be a big pro-choice propaganda-fest!”

But that would have defeated the point.

The reason All Access did not reveal how extensively they would promote their cause at the concert was simple: to widen the audience. The focus in advertising of the event was on the big acts: Sia, Leslie Jones and Jessica Williams. Yet overall, they probably took up about of the third of the allotted showtime. The majority of the event was given to abortion organizations and speakers.

It was a trick: bring in pro-lifers and indifferent people by offering free entertainment, then slam them with pro-choice positivity instead. And not only was it clever, it was effective—at least, based on the number of people that refused to clap throughout the show.

With a topic as touchy and turbulent as the abortion debate, getting people to actually stick around and listen is a trial in itself. By maximizing its performance aspect and minimizing its true purpose, All Access successfully kept the presence and attention of people who would normally never dare to hear out someone that supports abortion.

So, to the pro-lifers offended by the misadvertised show: I’m sorry that you didn’t get the concert that you wanted. I’m sorry that you were tricked into hearing views that differed from your own. I’m sorry that you felt uncomfortable hearing stories of women scared to admit to their abortions for fear of people like you.

But when you refuse to hear out the other side, when you try to fool people with fake clinics and when you guilt trip them out of abortions intended to save their futures—isn’t getting faked out of a concert just a little bit better?

Sarah Taekman is a first-year student.