What did George Carlin say? 1996 abortion skit video goes viral in the aftermath of Roe v Wade being overturned

Following the overturning of the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling by the Supreme Court, a standup skit by renowned comedian George Carlin has gone viral on social media platforms. While a quote from the late comedian was circulated online amid discussions of overturning the decision after June 24’s ruling, the quote has once again found relevance online.

In the now-viral quote from Carlin, the comedian said:

“Rights aren’t rights if they can be taken away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country: A bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news, even badly, you know that the list gets shorter and shorter.”

The aforementioned quote originates from Carlin’s last comedy special collaboration with HBO It’s Bad for Ya, which was aired in 2008, a mere four months prior to his death at 71.

Along with this quote, Carlin’s take on abortion laws has also been in circulation since the draft to overturn the Roe v Wade ruling was leaked in May. The aforementioned jokes from Carlin were from his 1996 standup special for HBO Back in Town.

George Carlin’s comment about the demand for anti-abortion laws


In Carlin’s comedy special, titled Back in Town, the comedian addressed the demands of politicians and conservatives who expressed their stance against the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling on abortions. In 1996, during the recording of the comedy special at the Beacon Theater in New York City, Carlin spoke about abortion laws for over eight minutes.

George Carlin called out the ‘Pro-Life movement’ and its supporters by labeling them ‘anti-women.’ He said:

“Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t wanna know about you. They don’t wanna hear from you. No nothing! No neonatal care, no daycare, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re preschool, you’re f***ed.”

In his comedy special, George Carlin further added:

“They’re anti-woman, simple as it gets. They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a broodmare for the state.”


George Carlin also targeted Pro-Life supporters at the time with outright insults. The comedian asked the audience at the venue:

“Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t want to f**k in the first place?”

Netizens resonate with comedian George Carlin’s take on anti-abortion following the overturn of the Roe v Wade

After the Roe v Wade ruling from 1973 was overturned by the US Supreme Court, the Pro-Life Movement supporters and politicians received a lot of flak. Those who advocated anti-abortion values were called out by a legion of celebrities and Pro-Choice supporters on social media platforms.

Amid the massive divisive uproar online over the ruling, George Carlin’s clip made waves online with thousands of views. Meanwhile, the Pro-Life movement’s admirers and advocates rejoiced at the overturning of the ruling. Amid the controversy, numerous individuals acknowledged that Carlin’s take on the matter over 26 years ago is still extremely relevant.

George Carlin on deranged far right conservatives and their obsession with abortion: “They are not pro-life, they are anti-woman.” https://t.co/kx4LFieTue

George Carlin shot a bullseye at the dark center of the conservative attack on women and abortion years ago. Same as it ever was. https://t.co/JnNuYlo22e

Truer words will never be spoken about abortion. I miss George Carlin. https://t.co/jt5r3fPp4O

If you want to know what states have trigger laws that have overturned abortion immediately, just search which states spend the least on prenatal and early childhood care. “If your pre-born you’re fine, if you’re pre-school, you’re f*%&ed.”- George Carlin

“How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelets?” 😬😬George Carlin

These pro-life people are such hypocrites. They wanna stop abortions because they claim to care about the lives of children…yet 19 kids got killed in a school shooting and they got NO answer to fix that. Once again, George Carlin was and IS right about these fools.

SCOTUS overturned #RoeVWade with their decision on Dobbs, I think this one from George Carlin is appropriate.“They’re anti-women” https://t.co/jBEYzAwQvy

“You don’t have rights, you have a list of temporary privileges.”-GEORGE CARLIN.

Following the overturning of the ruling, many conservative states have banned the procedure of abortion with some minor exceptions, while others chose to impose restrictions on the termination of pregnancy beyond six weeks or more in some cases. Meanwhile, some states like California have allowed pregnancies with the same regulations as before. This means that women who require an abortion may travel to an eligible state to get one.

Edited by Siddharth Satish

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