Benedict Cumberbatch Showed His Support For Abortion Rights on ‘SNL’

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Benedict Cumberbatch took to the Saturday Night Live stage to coincide with the release of his latest movie. At one point during the broadcast, Cumberbatch took a moment to make a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

'Doctor Strange 2' star Benedict Cumberbatch. He's wearing a white button-up shirt and blue jacket and standing in front of a light brown curtain.
Benedict Cumberbatch | Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage

The Supreme Court’s leak regarding its standing on abortion

In May 2022, a draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito signaled that the Court was preparing to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent regarding abortion rights. At least five Supreme Court Justices are reportedly prepared to undo the rulings of the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the Roe decision.

The leaked documents sparked protests and an outcry across the world of entertainment, as several celebrities speak up in support of abortion rights. Indie musician Phoebe Bridgers, for example, revealed that she had an abortion in October 2021 while she was on tour, and that everyone should have the same access to reproductive healthcare that she did.

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Benedict Cumberbatch showed his support for abortion rights

In the wake of the shocking news, Saturday Night Live included both pointed and subtle criticism of the Supreme Court opinion, including a cold open featuring Cumberbatch that mocked the Court’s standing and Alito’s draft. The sketch was set in 1200s England as Cumberbatch and other male lawmakers create laws that they knew would create political chaos years after their lives.

It was Cumberbatch’s second time hosting the show, first taking on duties as Studio 8H in 2016. Cumberbatch closed out the show while wearing a shirt that read “1973” in red and blue lettering. He was joined onstage by musical guest Arcade Fire and various SNL cast members, including Cecily Strong, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, and Chris Redd. Many of those on stage were wearing the same shirt.

The number “1973” signifies the year that the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973.

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Arcade Fire also showed their support

In addition to Cumberbatch and the SNL cast expressing their opinions, so did the musical guest, Arcade Fire. The band released their album WE ahead of their SNL appearance, and performed two songs from the album, “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid) and “The Lightning I, II.”

When the band took to the stage for their second performance, frontman Win Butler made it clear that Arcade Fire stood with everyone who would be affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and that the battle over abortion rights is far from over. “A woman’s right to choose, forever and ever and ever,” Butler said. “Amen.”

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