By Maggie Koerth
JUN. 2, 2022
A metal coat hanger can’t speak, but it can send a message. Long a symbol of the dangers faced by people seeking to end pregnancies in the years before Roe v. Wade, coat hangers stand in for a whole inventory of physical horrors, most of which never involved coat hangers, specifically. Over the past few weeks, protesters have mailed hangers to the Supreme Court in an effort to evoke that past era — from the so-called back-alley butchers who botched surgical procedures and sexually harassed patients, to the terrible lengths individuals went through to give themselves an abortion at home. The message is simple and brutal: Without safe and legal abortion, the protesters believe, people will die.
What Back Alley? These Women Say DIY Abortion Can Be Empowering
The pro-choice movement has portrayed non-clinic abortion as a last resort. But some women are trying to change that image.
The image provokes both fear and fury: a wire coat hanger, spattered with blood, symbolizing the drastic measures women may take when abortion access is limited.
Whoopi Goldberg brandished one on stage at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, urging the younger generation to remember what their forebears used. Protesters at the 1989 March for Women's Equality carried a giant replica, stained red, through the streets of Washington D.C. like a macabre parade float. And the symbol has been ubiquitous since Donald Trump’s election, popping up at marches, in the pages of glossy magazines, and on this site.
The imagery makes Jill Adams, founder of the Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team, shake her head.
Why The Abortion Rate In Pakistan Is One Of The World's Highest
Nov 28, 2018
When at 19 Mehnaz became pregnant for the fifth time, she panicked. She already had four daughters, and her husband was threatening to throw her out if she had another. So she did what millions of Pakistani women do every year: She had an abortion.
Like many of those women, her abortion was partly self-administered. "I kept taking tablets — whatever I laid my hands on," she says. "I lifted heavy things" — like the furniture in her tiny living room. She drank brews of boiled dates — many Pakistanis believe the beverage triggers labor.
With Kavanaugh on Court, Abortion Rights Groups Sharpen Their Focus on the States
By Emily Cochrane
Oct. 19, 2018
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Abortion rights groups, bracing for an assault on federal legal protections under a Supreme Court moved to the right by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, are pouring millions into a state-level fight to preserve services — an echo of the localized strategy used successfully by their opponents for years.
The new initiatives, by groups like Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice America, have two primary goals: to challenge severely restrictive measures advanced by emboldened state legislatures, and to bolster clinics in places friendlier to abortion rights that may become a fallback if access elsewhere is restricted.
The future of DIY abortions is the internet, not a back-alley doctor
No need for a clinic at all
by Lux Alptraum
Sep 22, 2018
For many people, the phrase “illegal abortion” calls to mind images of back alley clinics, medical providers with questionable credentials, and, of course, the dreaded coat hanger — an object so evocative it’s often been used as a protest symbol. But those images are outdated, belonging to a pre-Roe era. These days, the real action in abortion is now online, as a group of reproductive rights activists use the internet to spread the word about how to use abortion pills. They hope to give pregnant people living in places where abortion is nearly inaccessible, or outright illegal, access to safe and effective ways to take charge of their own fertility.
Thanks to the introduction of abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol — which, in combination, effectively induce abortion 95 percent to 98 percent of the time — it’s become possible to terminate an unwanted pregnancy without an invasive medical procedure. More to the point, it’s possible for women to take these pills to induce an abortion on their own, without the assistance of a doctor. Those pills can be bought online — so for many people, it’s possible to avoid the clinic entirely.