Coat Hangers: a Symbolic Protest Against the Stupak Amendment

Nov 16 2009 Published by under Featured News

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.

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