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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Kevin E G Perry

Saturday Night Live: Benedict Cumberbatch and Arcade Fire wear T-shirts referencing Roe vs Wade


Benedict Cumberbatch, members of Arcade Fire and the Saturday Night Live crew wore 1973 shirts at the end of this week’s episode, referencing the year of the Roe vs Wade ruling.

The landmark Supreme Court decision affected abortion laws around the US – currently the subject of debate once more after it emerged that the Supreme Court was prepared to overturn it.

Cumberbatch kicked off his second stint as SNL host by starring in a sketch taking aim at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion, which proposed overturning abortion rights in the US.

The sketch, set in 13th century England, also starred SNL cast members Andrew Dismukes, Alex Moffat, Kate McKinnon, Chris Redd and Cecily Strong.

“While I was cleaning the hole on the side of the castle where we poop and then it falls through the sky into a hole of human feces, I started to think about abortion,” Cumberbatch said. “Don’t you think we ought to make a law against that?”

Clearly referencing Alito’s decision to base his opinion on historical texts, Cumberbatch’s character praised his own “moral clarity” and predicted that future legal scholars would declare “there’s no need to update this at all. We nailed it in 1235.”


Cumberbatch was joined by Cecily Strong, playing a servant, who was left to question the impact the decision would have on women. “Shouldn’t women have the right to choose, since having a baby means a 50 percent chance of dying?” asked Strong’s character.

Kate McKinnon played a “woman in her thirties” blessed with the power of foresight by a “weird mushroom in a pile of cow dung”. She told Strong’s character: “Worry not, dear girl, these barbaric laws will some day be overturned by something called ‘progress’. Then, about 50 years after the progres, they’ll be like, ‘Maybe we should undo the progress.’”

Johnny Depp’s ongoing defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard was also referenced.

McGinnon added: “I don’t know why, my visions from that time are very confusing. It seems like all the power comes from a place called Florida. And if you think our customs are weird, you should watch the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.”

Cumberbatch is hosting Saturday Night Live for the second time, having first hosted in 2016.

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