Editorial Cartoon: Clothes Hanger

Many years ago when I was eleven years old, my Catholic mother, who opposed abortion, received a frantic telephone call from a close friend. Unknown to mom, her friend was pregnant had gone to a ‘back alley’ abortionist and began to hemorrhage when she returned home. My mother was the only person she could trust. My mother bolted from our house, sped out of our driveway, picked up her friend, and rushed her to the hospital. She saved a woman’s life. She saved her friend, and it changed my mother’s belief in legal abortion and the right of choice. Personally, did not believe in abortion, but she never wanted any friend of hers to ever risk her life again. This woman, her friend, was in an abusive, sexless, loveless, marriage and had had an affair. As mom said many times thereafter, who is she to judge?

Those were the days in the deep-south when abortions were illegal and contraception was limited to foam, diaphragms and condoms. Men controlled their wives and daughters. There were many times when desperate women would use all sorts of devices on themselves, including clothes hangers. If poor or middle class, the ‘back alley’ or their bathroom was their only choice. Wealthy women, on the other hand, had private doctors where they could turn for help.

We have begun to return to those backward days of the past. It is in the deep-south, and this time led by the Tea Party Republicans.


America, we are in deep trouble.



6 Replies to “Editorial Cartoon: Clothes Hanger”

  1. I remembered after I had submitted this that years later I encountered my mother’s friend and introduced myself. She looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Did you know that your mother saved my life?” Yes, I said. Then she said: “I love your mother. You are so fortunate to be her son.”

  2. This post should be shouted far and wide, and thank you for writing it.

    My late father-in-law was a devout Catholic, and presented my wife with the choices available when she was in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy in her teens. He said that he would not pay for an abortion, but told her it was one of her options, as it was legal and available, should she choose such. Wonderful man, and I wish I could have met him.

    I’ve never known any person who is “pro-abortion,” any more than one is “pro-lung removal.” The latter gave my beloved late uncle 10 more years of life, though, as it was a necessary procedure. Pro-choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion.

    And, quite frankly, the moment I miraculously grow a uterus is the moment I have the right to say much else about it. Each of my daughters know their daddy would be supportive, should the event of an unplanned and unwelcome pregnancy occur, regardless of the choice and decision made.

  3. What’s really driving the GOP’s abortion war? Maybe this is all surprising. After all, haven’t we heard for the last two years that the Tea Party is more libertarian and less socially conservative? If you bought that line, congratulations — you’re ensconced in Beltway wisdom. The truth is that a new name for the same old conservative base hasn’t changed the nature of that base. Just as before, the “small government” conservatives and the religious right have a great deal of overlap. With gay rights waning as a powerful wedge issue, keeping the religious right motivated and ready to vote is harder than ever. Reproductive rights creates new incentives for church-organized activists to keep praying, marching, donating and, most important, voting for the GOP.


  4. All these folks trying to eliminate legal abortions seem to have selective amnesia when it comes to how women risked and often lost their lives through illegal abortions in the past. What’s even more egregiously stupid is how many of them also oppose the very birth control that prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore reduces abortions. They even oppose the teaching of comprehensive sex education that would promote the kind of personal responsibility they always preach about, which would also go a long way toward reducing the need for them. However, there will always be circumstances in which abortion would be the only choice such as a non-viable fetus with no chance of survival outside the womb or the mother’s health. While I can’t imagine having to bear a rapist’s child, I respect the right of women to make that choice themselves. Either way, it’s a soul-wrenching choice. Then, what about young girls pregnant from rape or incest? Abortion is never a casual decision.

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