Misogynist Right-Winger Erickson Jokes About Coat Hangers After Texas Abortion Bill Passes

No coat hangers!

What would Erickson and his fellow misogynists do if men kept getting pregnant and desperately risking coat hanger abortions to avoid having children? Image from the collection of TiganaToo on Flickr.

Coat hangers. They represent a time before abortion was legal, before it was more affordable and accessible. And for some, it represents the lack of respect they have for those who feel differently than they do.

Erick Erickson, atrocious right-wing airhead extraordinaire, posted a tweet in the wake of the passage of repressive anti-abortion legislation in Texas that sent my jaw racing to the floor:

“Dear Liberals, go bookmark this site now: storesupply.com/c-480/hangers…”

The link led to a website that sells hangers, a symbol of the abortion debate. The tweet has since been deleted.

Called ‘hyperbole’ by the anti-abortion side of the debate, coat hangers are a very real part of our abortion history in this country and other places around the world. Wire coat hangers were used by some women in the days before access to legal, safe abortions to perform self-induced abortions. These coat hanger abortions were extremely dangerous, as Dr. Jen Gunter explains in her “Anatomy of a Coat Hanger Abortion“:

“If she’s lucky enough to get the coat hanger through her cervix it could easily sail right through the back or side walls of the uterus. The uterine wall is soft and easily perforated with the wrong instrument or unskilled hands. If the uterus is perforated on one of the sides there is a high risk of lacerating a uterine artery, as that is where they are located. If this happens a woman who is by herself could easily bleed to death before she gets appropriate medical care.”

But that isn’t the only danger in a self-induced coat hanger abortion:

“The other danger with uterine perforation is the bowel. Puncturing the bowel will hurt, but depending on her level of fear it might only be enough to cry out but not to ask for help. However, within the next 3 days the bowel perforation will most certainly kill her unless she gets appropriate medical care.”

Even then, abortion of the pregnancy is unlikely to happen. While this particular desperate measure did not make up the majority of illegal abortions in the days before Roe v. Wade, it has become a clear example of how desperate some women could be, and the extreme measures to which they would go to terminate a pregnancy, no matter what the reason. Waldo L. Fielding, M.D., writes about his experiences as a gynecologist in the days when abortion was criminal.

“The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.”

Thus, the coat hanger has become a symbol of not only the abortion debate, but the movement for safe, effective women’s reproductive health care.

Considering the fact that the GOP in Texas kept harping that the bill was important to making sure that abortions were safe, a comment like Erickson’s just goes to show that there is no truth to that argument at all. When you make fun of the coat hanger, you are simply saying that women’s health means nothing to you. When you tell pro-choice women to go bookmark a coat hanger sales site, you are saying, ‘I have no respect for women whatsoever. They are vessels for carrying fetuses, nothing more. Past that, their lives and those of their partners and families are inconsequential.’

I wonder what Erickson and the swarms of other misogynists out there would say if it were men in that situation, having to shove a coat hanger up their penises out of desperation. Somehow, I doubt they’d see the coat hanger as such a joke then.