Ed Sheeran's stance hoped to raise awareness ahead of Irish abortion vote

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s decision to distance himself from anti-abortion campaigners using his song “Small Bump” ahead of a vote in Ireland could help raise awareness about the issue, a leading pro-choice charity on Monday.

Sheeran said in an Instagram post this weekend that he had been informed that his song was being used to promote the pro-life campaign ahead of Ireland’s May 25 referenduum on whether to liberalize one of the world’s strictest regimes on abortion.

“I feel it’s important to let you know I have not given approval for this use, and it does not reflect what the song is about,” Sheeran wrote.

The 2011 track features the lyrics: “You were just a small bump unborn, just four months then torn from life. Maybe you were needed up there, but we’re still unaware as why.”

The singer, 27, who was named the world’s best-selling artist of 2017, previously said he wrote the track about a friend who lost a child.

A spokeswoman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service welcomed the star’s comments, saying activists were “clearly conflating pregnancy loss and abortion”.

BPAS said they hoped Sheeran’s decision to speak out would raise awareness.

“There’s been a real transition in the way people talk about this issue. People have been scared of speaking out about this, so it’s great that he is lending his voice,” the spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Irish voters will be asked on Friday if they wish to overhaul abortion laws which have divided a once deeply Catholic nation. A complete ban was only lifted five years ago for cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

Two opinion polls published on Sunday showed that up to 56 percent of Irish voters were in favor of change.

If the referendum is carried, Ireland’s minority government has proposed legislation that would introduce terminations with no restrictions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.