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Size: 11" x 14" x 3"

Materials: Wire Coat Hanger, Paper Medical Gown, Cotton Twine, Watercolor, Denim Canvas

This work was created in response to the Supreme Court decision that reversed abortion protections for people who can get pregnant. This work was published in the journal, Feminist Spaces in the summer or 2022.

Role Tied

  • Granny told me stories about the coat-hanger women. 

    These women were desperate people who punctured their wombs trying to ‘hide their sin’ or ‘avoid the consequences of their actions.’ It wasn’t always a coat-hanger, but the result was always the same. A gruesome death that could have been avoided if the person had just accepted the inevitable role of mother. 

    The stories were intended to be a form of birth control in a state that believes abstinence is the best policy. A state that forces people into desperate situations through corrupt and unjust laws. Granny hoped that fear of death would keep me away from boys long enough to avoid getting pregnant accidentally.

    It didn’t work. It never does.

    Sitting in the grimy bathroom of a single-wide trailer one Christmas Eve, my role transformed one red line at a time. Instead of learning to drive or applying to colleges, I filled out baby registries and learned how to breathe through contractions. Any hope for creating a better role for myself was destroyed. I knew my future because I watched my mother live it, too. 

    For the next nine months, coat-hanger women sang to me in my dreams.

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