The Coat Hanger: A Dark Humor

what does the coat hanger joke mean

The coat hanger joke is a reference to coat hanger abortions, which are unsafe and self-induced abortions. In the past, women have used coat hangers to terminate unwanted pregnancies, which often resulted in serious injury or death. This practice has become a symbol of dangerous abortions, particularly in pre-Roe America when abortions were illegal. Today, the coat hanger continues to be used as a protest symbol by abortion-rights activists, who view it as a representation of attacks on their bodily autonomy.

Characteristics Values
What it refers to An unsafe abortion practice
How it is performed Inserting a straightened coat hanger through the cervix into the uterus to puncture the amniotic sac
Symbolism A symbol of dangerous, pre-Roe abortions, attacks on bodily autonomy, and unsafe, self-induced abortions
History Used as a protest symbol since 1969, before the Roe v Wade ruling

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The coat hanger as a symbol of abortion

The wire coat hanger is a symbol of a dark era of abortion rights. When abortion was illegal, women and girls with unwanted pregnancies were unable to terminate their pregnancies in healthcare facilities and resorted to dangerous methods to end them. The wire coat hanger, with its thin metal wire that can be bent and inserted through the cervix, was one such method used to induce abortions at home.

The coat hanger is a symbol of the dangerous and deadly methods used by women who were unable to obtain legal abortions. It represents the inequality of access to safe abortions, as those with more privilege and resources were able to obtain abortions, albeit illegally and at a high cost, while those with less privilege were forced to resort to more desperate measures.

The coat hanger has been used as a symbol by pro-choice activists to highlight the dangers of illegal abortions and the importance of safe, legal abortion in protecting women's health and lives. However, some advocates argue that the imagery of the coat hanger is no longer accurate or helpful and may do more harm than good. They suggest that it is time to retire the coat hanger symbol and focus on educating people about safe options for abortion, such as telemedicine services and medication abortions.

The coat hanger symbol has been used in protests and demonstrations following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, with protesters waving coat hangers, sometimes painted blood red, and carrying messages such as "Not approved for medical use" or "Never Again". The coat hanger has become a powerful symbol of the pro-choice movement due to its graphic simplicity and its ability to evoke unease and anger.

While the coat hanger may be an effective symbol, it is important to recognize that the reality of abortion today is different from the era it represents. Safe and legal abortion options, such as surgical abortions and medication abortions, are now available and can be accessed without resorting to dangerous methods.

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The coat hanger as a protest symbol

The coat hanger has become a symbol of the reproductive rights movement, specifically in the context of abortion rights. It is a reminder of the dangerous and gruesome methods used to induce abortions before abortion was legalised. The wire of the coat hanger would be inserted into the cervix to terminate a pregnancy, often resulting in severe health risks and even death.

The coat hanger as a symbol of protest emerged in April 1969, years before the Roe v Wade ruling in the United States. Three lakh protesters in Washington marched with coat hangers around their necks, holding signs that read "Never Again". This was a powerful statement against the dangers of illegal and unsafe abortions, which often resulted in long-term health complications or death for women.

The coat hanger has continued to be used as a symbol of protest against restrictions on abortion rights. In 2012, after the Republican Party approved a platform opposing abortion in all cases, the Huffington Post and Newsweek used coat hanger imagery on their websites and as a mouse cursor, respectively. In 2016, protesters in Ohio decorated the statehouse fencing with coat hangers to oppose the Heartbeat Bill, which would outlaw abortion at six weeks.

More recently, in 2022, following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade, coat hanger memes and symbols reappeared across social media and protests. TikTok user Katarina Nowack uploaded a video of herself ordering six wire coat hangers and shipping them to the Supreme Court, encouraging others to do the same. This led to thousands of women sending coat hangers to the Supreme Court as a symbol of protest.

The coat hanger has also been incorporated into jewellery, tattoos, and art as a symbol of the fight for legal abortion rights. However, some pro-choice activists and doctors argue that the coat hanger makes abortions seem unsafe and violent, and instead advocate for more empowering imagery in the fight for reproductive rights.

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The coat hanger as a joke prop

The coat hanger is a symbol of unsafe abortion. It is used as a prop in jokes, often darkly humorous, that revolve around the topic of abortion. The jokes typically involve wordplay and innuendo, alluding to the use of a coat hanger as a tool for inducing abortion. The humour arises from the juxtaposition of a mundane object with a sensitive and controversial topic.

The wire coat hanger is straightened and inserted through the cervix into the uterus, with the intention of puncturing the amniotic sac and inducing abortion. This method, often referred to as a "coat hanger abortion", is associated with significant risks and is considered unsafe. It can cause damage to the cervix, uterus, and other internal organs, leading to severe bleeding, infection, and even death.

  • "What's the worst thing about accidentally locking your keys in your car outside an abortion clinic? Having to go in and ask for a coat hanger."
  • "Two blondes are trying to unlock their car with a coat hanger. One says, 'Hurry up! It's starting to rain and the top's down!'".
  • "What is the difference between a priest and a wire coat hanger? According to the church, only one of them harms children."
  • "A pregnant lady locks her keys inside her car by an abortion clinic. Imagine the look on the receptionist's face when she asks for a coat hanger."
  • "Wife: 'Get me a coat hanger, I don't want the baby anymore.' Hubby: 'Are you crazy? It's too late for that! May I remind you our child has already been born?' Wife: 'It's not too late to let it play with the wall socket.'"

These jokes often carry a tone of irony, sarcasm, or dark humour and are intended to provoke a range of emotional responses, from laughter to discomfort. They highlight the desperation and risks associated with unsafe abortion methods, particularly in contexts where abortion is illegal or inaccessible.

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The coat hanger as a political statement

The coat hanger has become a symbol of the reproductive rights movement and a reminder of the gruesome pre-Roe era. It is a tool of last resort, a hack of a household object, conjured out of desperation when nothing else will suffice. The coat hanger is usually fashioned from wire and is a cheap and accessible object, which means it can be widely and quickly used as a protest symbol.

In the context of abortion, the coat hanger is used to induce an abortion. The wire is inserted into the cervix and used to pierce the amniotic sac. This method is extremely dangerous and can result in serious harm or even death.

In the 1960s and 1970s, as Americans argued over legalizing abortion, supporters of abortion rights held coat hangers aloft as a reminder that desperate women resorted to this and other horrific methods to perform illegal abortions. In April 1969, over 300,000 protesters in Washington marched with coat hangers around their necks and signs reading "Never Again". This symbolized their opposition to unsafe and illegal abortions and their demand for safe and legal abortion access.

The coat hanger has continued to be used as a powerful political statement in the reproductive rights movement. In 2016, protesters in Ohio decorated the statehouse fencing with coat hangers to oppose the Heartbeat Bill, which would outlaw abortion at six weeks. More recently, in the wake of the Roe v. Wade verdict being overturned, activists have turned to the coat hanger as a symbol and a warning of the dangers that lie ahead for women in America.

The coat hanger, therefore, serves as a stark reminder of the inequalities that exist in access to reproductive healthcare. It is a symbol of the desperate measures that women are driven to when safe and legal abortion services are denied to them.

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The coat hanger as a reminder of pre-Roe America

The coat hanger has become a symbol of the reproductive rights movement and a reminder of the dangerous and gruesome pre-Roe era in America.

In the years before the Roe v. Wade ruling, when abortions were illegal in America, women were forced to use household objects like coat hangers to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This often resulted in uterine perforation, hemorrhage, sepsis, and sometimes death. The coat hanger has come to symbolise this dangerous and desperate last resort for women who were denied legal abortion services.

The coat hanger was first used as a protest symbol in April 1969, when over 300,000 protesters in Washington marched with coat hangers around their necks and signs that read "Never Again". The symbol has been used repeatedly since then, including in protests against Ohio's Heartbeat Bill in 2016, and more recently, in protests following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

While some reproductive rights activists argue that the coat hanger is a powerful symbol that evokes a strong emotional response, others believe that it is time to retire the imagery. They argue that the coat hanger misrepresents the reality of abortion today, as most self-induced abortions now involve the use of pills rather than coat hangers or other violent methods. Additionally, the coat hanger may perpetuate misconceptions about the safety of self-induced abortions in the present day.

Frequently asked questions

The coat hanger is a symbol of dangerous, pre-Roe abortions, when women were forced to use household objects to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

The coat hanger has been used as a symbol to represent unsafe and self-induced abortions. There have been instances of women dying because of unsafe practices in the absence of medical services.

It refers to unsafe abortion practices, using household objects or homemade concoctions in the absence of legal or safe access. It could be something as dangerous as inserting a hanger’s wire into the cervix to terminate a pregnancy.

Yes, here is one: "Two blondes are trying to unlock their car with a coat hanger. One says, "Hurry up! It's starting to rain and the top's down!"

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