Legendary Irish rock band U2 has expressed its support for repealing their home nation's ban on abortion — and fans are reacting strongly, both positively and negatively.
U2 posted an image of the repeal logo on Twitter accompanied by the written message, "Vote on May 25th" — the date of Ireland's referendum on its Eighth Amendment, which has protected the lives of mothers and their unborn babies since 1983.
How did fans react?
- "This breaks my heart," one fan commented on Twitter. "I have loved and followed you for 20 years. I still love you but I can’t follow you down this road. My tickets to upcoming shows will go unused."
- Another asked, "Why would you want to remove the right to life of unborn babies? Do you think human life is disposable? Shocked and disappointed by your stance on this—you’re on the wrong side of history. Shame."
- The Irish Post noted another fan who quoted a lyric from U2's song, "Miracle Drug," and then ripped the quartet: "'Freedom has a scent like the top of a newborn baby’s head' — interesting to know you no longer want babies to have that freedom. You offer 'choice' to those who will ensure babies will never reach 'newborn' status. A lot of your songs now very questionable."
But not every fan was upset...
- "Well I'm a bigger fan now than ever," one Twitter user wrote. "I love when men stand up and show they care about women's healthcare. The no campaigners are disgusting saying it's about killing babies. It's not at all. The right to choose can sometimes be the safest choice for all."
- Another person added, "Thanks lads. Wasn't a typical fan or follower but I am now!!! Very grateful to the you."
- Yet another fan commented, "Just when I think I can’t love this band more. Thank you for taking a stand on this issue. As a woman and a longtime fan, bravo," the Irish Post said.
What did the band have to say about its decision?
“It is huge, and I know there is a huge divergence of opinion on it, and I accept that, and it is hard to take a stance without having to acknowledge there is another side to it, but I am for it, and I support repeal," guitarist The Edge (real name Dave Evans) told the Mirror. "It is the smart thing to do.”
It's not the first time U2 has made a controversial statement
A political band at heart, U2 came out in support of a "yes" vote on Ireland's 2015 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage with an Instagram post quoting a lyric from the band's famed tune, "Pride (in the Name of Love)":
U2 frontman Bono soon after told a Phoenix audience that "we have peace in Ireland today, and — in fact, on this very day — we have true equality in Ireland. Millions turned up to vote yesterday to say love is the highest law in the land. ...If God loves us, whoever we love, wherever we come from, then why can’t the state?"
The band also has been staunchly against U.S. President Donald Trump. Bono himself called the Republican "potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America."
On the other end of the spectrum...
Bono was slammed by liberals over reports last year that he met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
He's also been a consistently strong proponent of Christianity over the course of his career, once delivering a handwritten poem to late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, busking "O Come All Ye Faithful" to a rowdy Dublin crowd at Christmas, and proclaiming Jesus as "the Son of God."