March 20, 2014; Hypervocal


This story should be seen as one in a lengthy discussion about the role of provocative marketing in changing behaviors.

On Tuesday, National Review Online ran a short piece revealing that the D.C. Abortion Fund was giving away pendants shaped as coat hangers to anyone who donated at least $10 per month to the D.C. Abortion Fund. This sparked a mini-media frenzy as other conservative media picked up the image and expressed pained outrage, but as Marisa Kabas writes in HyperVocal, the outrage is a bit slow in coming.

The D.C. Abortion Fund is, according to its website, “an all-volunteer nonprofit that makes grants to D.C. area women and girls who cannot afford the full cost of an abortion” and it has offered the pendant as an incentive for giving since 2009. 

“It’s all very strange because we’ve had this same campaign for quite a long time, at least four or five years,” said Val Vilott, board president of the D.C. Abortion Fund. She also said that DCAF has heard objections to the pendant previously, but they do not intend a change. 

For those of us who are made queasy by the image, maybe that is the point. Vilott says, “It’s an important reminder of the work we do for abortion access…. The coat hanger to us serves as reminder of what women went through without access to safe reproductive healthcare.” 

“We never want to see those days again,” Vilott said. “The same people who are up in arms over the hanger necklace are exactly the opponents looking to make abortion illegal. Then women would have to resort to methods like the coat hanger.”—Ruth McCambridge