Coat Hangers: a Symbolic Protest Against the Stupak Amendment

Selecting singularly vivid iconography – the coat hanger – as in coat hanger abortion, CredoAction launched a campaign to persuade the 20 formerly pro-choice Democratic Congressmen who voted Yes on the Stupak Pitts Amendment to change their minds, by sending coat hangers to those Democratic House members who voted to restrict access to abortion in the healthcare bill along with their petition.

The Stupak Amendment, if it remains a part of the Health Care Reform Bill, would enact greater restrictions on pro-choice than any change we have seen since the 1976 Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment of 1976, named for Republican Congressman Henry
Hyde, banned Federal funding of abortions through the Department of Health and Human Services appropriations, and led to other Federal legislation banning abortion coverage, including for those in the military and their families, but did allow payment for other health care for those individuals, so long as they paid for an abortion ‘out of pocket’ / with private funds.

The recently passed Stupak Pitts Amendment would make health care under those provisions unavailable for women who were willing to pay ‘out of pocket’ or to purchase health care with such reproductive coverage with private funds, a serious erosion of the status quo. This Amendment is anticipated to be particularly punitive to those women in low income demographics.

For every signature to their petition, CredoAction will send a coat hanger to these Congressmen, reminding them of the bad old days before safe, legal abortions were available, the days of coat hanger abortions and back alley butchers that were fatal to so many women. Their aim is to have 100,000 signatures by the end of the week before Thanksgiving, which would extrapolate to sending 2,000,000 coat hangers – 100,000 coat hangers per Congressman. As of their email update on Monday, they were already at 78,280 signatures.

The petition says, simply:

“We know what happens when women are denied access to reproductive health care including abortion. And we can’t go back to an era of coat hangers and back alley abortions. Reconsider your vote on the Stupak Amendment. Tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the final health care bill that emerges from the conference committee can’t turn the clock back on women’s rights.”

The Congressmen destined to receive the coat hangers are:

Representative Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania – (District 4);

Representative Joe Baca, California – (District 41);

Representative Sanford Bishop, Georgia – (District 2);

Representative Dennis Cardoza, California – (District 18);

Representative Christopher Carney, Pennsylvania – (District 10);

Representative Albert Chandler, Kentucky – (District 6);

Representative Jim Cooper, Tennessee – (District 5);

Representative Jim Costa, California – (District 20);

Representative Artur Davis, Alabama – (District 7);

Representative Bob Etheridge, North Carolina – (District 2);

Representative Baron Hill, Indiana – (District 9);

Representative Michael Michaud, Maine – (District 2);

Representative Richard Neal, Massachusetts – (District 2);

Representative David Ross Obey, Wisconsin – (District 7);

Representative Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota – ( All );

Representative Silvestre Reyes, Texas – (District 16);

Representative Ciro Rodgriguez, Texas – (District 23);

Representative Victor Snyder, Arkansas – (District 2);

Representative Zachary Space, Ohio – (District 18);

Representative John Spratt, South Carolina – (District 5);

If you wish to sign this petition and send a coat hanger, symbolic of coat hanger abortions, go to .

If one of these is YOUR representative, I urge you to contact them directly, and express your views on the subject as a constituent, both on provisions denying women the right to use their own PRIVATE FUNDS NOT FEDERAL FUNDS to purchase insurance which includes full coverage for legal reproductive procedures, and on the larger Health Care Reform legislation.

We can only hope that this timely reminder of how making abortion more difficult if not impossible affects women, and that it will be as persuasive as it is intended. There were 64 Democrats who voted with the Republicans for the Stupak Pitts Amendment, this despite the pro-choice plank in the 2008 Democratic Platform.

Personally, I wish the Credo Action group would send coat hangers to Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michicagn, and co-sponsoring Republican Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, along with their co-sponsoring Congressmen: Republican Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Democrat Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Democrat Dan Lipinski of Illinois, and Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey. Both Stupak and Pitts have ties to / membership in the ‘Family’, the secretive C-Street Christian cult that gained notoriety over the extra-marital misconduct of Governor Sanford of South Carolina, and Senators Coburn and Ensign.

9 Replies to “Coat Hangers: a Symbolic Protest Against the Stupak Amendment”

  1. […] Coat Hangers: a Symbolic Protest Against the Stupak Amendment – view page – cached Selecting singularly vivid iconography – the coat hanger – as in coat hanger abortion, CredoAction launched a campaign to persuade the 20 formerly pro-choice Democratic Congressmen who voted Yes on… Read moreSelecting singularly vivid iconography – the coat hanger – as in coat hanger abortion, CredoAction launched a campaign to persuade the 20 formerly pro-choice Democratic Congressmen who voted Yes on the Stupak Pitts Amendment to change their minds, by having people send coat hangers to those Read less […]

  2. If the Democrats push through an anti choice “healthcare reform” bill, I will vote party line Green in November 2010. I am so sick of militant, anti American fundamentalists abusing the political process to push through their Taliban style political agenda.

  3. It looks like ALL 20 representatives listed above are MEN (I am discounting the two co-sponsoring female representatives as male apologists). As far as I know, by known human anatomical standards and bio-technology’s current progress, men cannot get pregnant thus are in no need of procuring an abortion. Just like the good old Catholic bishops who will never get pregnant and will never be in that situation of terminating a pregnancy but who have such strong opinions and push every chance they get to control women’s lives even those who could care less if the Catholic Church ever existed. How much longer are we women going to have to beg, cajole, “convince,” plead with, threaten, humiliate ourselves in front of, invoke every humanitarian, spiritual or logical argument with the males in power so that we can get our friggin’ rights over our own bodies recognized? (For the dull minded who would argue that the embryo/fetus is a separate being, please re-read your basic female reproductive system, especially the portion about the uterus (womb) being encased WITHIN the female body”). Enough is enough! I cannot believe that in this day, in the 21 century, we still need to send reminders to our elected officials here in the “great” United States that women are fully part of the human race and not some sub-human incubators.

  4. […] boxes of wire coat hangers to Maine Rep Mike Michaud, a Democrat who voted for the amendment that would severely restrict abortion access. Wire coat hangers, of course, are the world's most graphic and disturbing symbol for what […]

  5. Wire hangers are a myth. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a cofounder of NARAL, blew the myth wide open in his 1997 book, “Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist.” He admits that early abortion-rights advocates totally fabricated the number of women dying from back-alley and wire-hanger abortions. The 10,000 figure they used to affect public opinion was actually closer to 250, he writes. The actual figure in 1972 for deaths from illegal abortion was 39, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Nathanson also admitted to fabricating polls that indicated public support for abortion rights. I am atheist, before anyone accuses me of being a fanatic nutjob… Even Naomi Wolf admits its a human life… google her name. She is a feminist who admits abortion is evil yet necessary. Well, it shouldn’t be.

  6. is claiming that he fabricated the numbers of women who have died from coat hanger abortions.

    Actually, I’ve heard knitting needles used more often in attempts to self-abort, rather than coat hangers, and combinations of caustic chemicals, as well as other kinds of toxic preparations, some herbal some not .

    What you fail to mention, anonymous, is that Nathanson is now pro-life. IF it is true that he lied before about the numbers – and I could not verify independently that he did – then why should we believe that he isn’t still lying, just now lying for the other side whom he has decided just as enthusiastically to support?

    Doubly so his veracity should be challenged, given he has written a book where making such a claim would increase sales and earn him money?

    I googled coat hanger abortions, and I checked out sites like Snopes. The statistics are challenged from both sides. Whatever stats you choose to accept, there is no logical way that having a procedure be illegal but still practiced makes it safe for women compared to a legal medical procedure preformed by qualified medical personnel in clinics and hospitals.

    The most persuasive arguments of which I am aware in the pro-life versus pro-choice debate is over recognizing an embryo as tissue versus a complete full human, and the debate over giving an embryo rights that are greater and preclude the mother’s rights to what happens to and with her body.

  7. First of all, wooden hanger is better for clothing. Compared with a wire hanger; you can find a wooden hanger is designed for all of your clothing. Because of the special clips for slacks and skirts; wooden hangers would significantly prevent wrinkles, which would reduce your amount of ironing and extend the life of your clothing. What is more, wooden hanger is better for winter coats. Winter coats are heavy and will put a great deal of weight on your hanger which can result in damage or breakage of the hanger. Thin hangers shouldn’t even be considered and wooden hanger is a better choice. Secondly, wooden hanger is easy to work with. Because of the difference of structure and material, wire hangers are supple and will bend under the weight of the clothing they are holding. A wooden hanger just will not do that under any circumstance. In addition, wooden clothes hangers tend to be a better choice in the sense that they could support a complete outfit. Instead of using a separate hanger for every element of an outfit, it is convenient to hang all pieces on one hanger. This results in a better usage of your closet space. A wooden hanger will ensure that your clothing lasts significantly longer than if you use a wire hanger. This is important if your wardrobe includes fine articles of clothing. Thirdly, wooden hanger is economical and practical. As wooden hangers will endure plenty longer than synthetic hangers such as plastic and you do not need to constantly replace them. This results in a reduction of your time and your cash. What is more, you get the bonus feature of fancy wooden hangers. It is human nature that you are not willing to hang up your best suit on a plastic or wire hanger. Special clothes deserve the style of a wooden hanger.A wooden hanger is better for clothing and also does a better job of preventing wrinkles and keeping clothing looking nicer than a wire hanger.

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