George Carlin’s Quote About Abortion Comes From a 1996 Stand-up Special

Comedy legend George Carlin died in 2008. But his influence lives on to this day. Widely regarded as one of the most iconic and influential comedians of all time, Carlin became known for his hearty embrace of counterculture and his willingness to take shots at the establishment. Carlin never shied away from a biting political joke. And over the years, he often used his wildly successful stand-up specials to aim at government officials and political movements.

Recently, in light of the leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, a quote about abortion attributed to George Carlin has made the rounds on social media. And many of his fans point out how truly timely his take on the movement has become.

George Carlin’s joke about abortion has been making the rounds

George Carlin abortion quote
Stand up comedian, actor and author George Carlin is shown performing on stage during a live concert appearance on January 13, 1996. | John Atashian/Getty Images

In May 2022, Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion. According to CBS News, it would overturn Roe v. Wade and severely restrict abortion access throughout the United States if finalized. A firestorm took over social media in light of the leaked draft. While many celebrities started sharing their own abortion stories, some news outlets pointed out that comedian George Carlin spoke about abortion way back in the ’90s.

As shared by MSNBC, Carlin’s joke referenced how “conservatives…are all in favor of the unborn, but once you’re born, you’re on your own!” The comedian went on to say that pro-life conservatives are “obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months, but after that, they don’t want to know about you.”

What stand-up special did George Carlin’s abortion quote originate from?

Carlin’s words relate to the present situation, with the topic of abortion access firmly in the headlines. However, Carlin’s joke wasn’t a standalone remark. The abortion jokes came from Carlin’s hugely popular 1996 stand-up special, Back in Town

In the special, Carlin tackled many hot-button topics, including capital punishment, voting, and prison farms. According to IMDbBack in Town is considered one of Carlin’s best stand-up specials, proving he wasn’t losing his brilliant edge many years into his career.

Many love George Carlin for his biting social commentary

George Carlin rose to fame as a comedian. But as his influence grew, he became just as well known for his brilliant social commentary, especially regarding politics and religion. He often used religion to illustrate his belief that people in large groups were “stupid.” One of his most famous jokes, according to Screen Rant, detailed how important it was not to force one’s religion on other people. He quips, “religion is like a pair of shoes. Find one that fits for you but don’t make me wear your shoes.”

Carlin also didn’t hesitate to tackle institutions and occupations he deemed stodgy, and often made jokes about doctors and lawyers. “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?” one of the comedian’s most famous lines went. By the ’70s, Carlin was one of the biggest names in pop culture. This led the brand-new variety series Saturday Night Live to hire him as the host for the debut episode.

Throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and into the early 2000s, Carlin remained the everyman’s comedian, a performer who never shied away from challenging material. More than 10 years after his passing, his influence lives on, inspiring and entertaining a whole new generation.

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