Robyn rose to fame with her hit song "Do You Know (What it Takes)" from her debut album, released in the U.S. in 1997. But her second album, My Truth, didn't make it to the States, partly because it contained songs that dealt with her abortion, Robyn explains in a new profile in the New York Times.
“You can’t really talk about stuff like that in America, or you couldn’t at the time,” Robyn said in the interview. “Not if you were an 18-year-old pop star.”
The album was released in Sweden in 1999 through BMG Sweden, a German label, and was planned for a release in the U.S. as well through the American label RCA, Vanity Fair reports. But RCA requested that she rerecord two songs that referenced her abortion, and she refused, Jezebel explains.
The two songs in question, "Giving You Back" and "88 Days," are now available on YouTube, and the lyrics are as emotional as you'd imagine. "In another time / Another life / In another situation I / Would have made you mine / Would have taken time / To make sure you'd be fine," she sings on "Giving You Back."
And on "88 Days," she sings, "I've got so much work inside my heart to be done, I've got / 88 days 'til the sun / For when the springtime comes," followed by, "So what's the message in this song? / That the pain doesn't mean that you can't carry on."
The decision to end a pregnancy is an incredibly personal one. But visibility in the media could help reduce the stigma surrounding it.
In the nine years since Robyn's second album, the topic of abortion has become increasingly more visible in pop culture, television, and music. And, considering the stigma that still surrounds abortion, those public explorations of the topic become more and more important.
That stigma can fuel medically incorrect myths about the procedures available, increase feelings of shame or isolation in those who have abortions, and make it incredibly difficult or even dangerous for someone to seek out an abortion.
So, by singing about it in a pop song, Robyn seemingly made a statement that the decision to have an abortion is valid—and so is the spectrum of emotions that goes along with that decision.