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The powerful reason why Cynthia Nixon held up a coat hanger during speech

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Susan Devaney
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During a rally, Cynthia Nixon held up a coat hanger as she described the harrowing story of her mother’s illegal abortion. 

Since Cynthia Nixon announced she was running for Governor of New York City in a brilliant video, she’s conducted her campaign with wit, intelligence and a ruthless determination.

Now, the Sex And The City actress has just shared a deeply personal and moving story at a pro-choice rally in Union Square this week. While addressing the crowd, Nixon opened up about her mother’s decision to have an illegal abortion in the 1960s.

“Abortion rights and reproductive rights is a very personal issue for me,” Nixon, told the crowd, according to People. “My mother had an abortion here in New York State before it was legal. And when I was old enough, she made sure to tell me about it.”

“It was very hard for her to speak about,” Nixon added. “She didn’t give a lot of details but it was very important for her to tell me that she had had an abortion, that it had been illegal, and that it had been a tremendously awful experience. She had wanted me to make sure that I knew her history so I can fully value how crucial reproductive freedom is.”

Then Nixon removed a metal coat hanger from her bag, holding it up for the crowd to see, while explaining that she now looks at the everyday household object in a new light.

“For those of you too young to remember, this is something that women in this state and this country were driven to use out of fear and desperation, performing abortions on themselves often with devastating effects to their health and sometimes their life,” Nixon said.

“We must ever, ever, ever go back to a time where any woman feels she has to make this kind of a choice. … So that no woman will ever feel compelled to use something like this on her again.”

Taking to Twitter after the rally, Nixon posted about her why women cannot go back to that time in history.

“A wire hanger is something that women in this country were driven to use out of fear and desperation, performing abortions on themselves, often with devastating effects. We must never go back to a time when any women feels that she has to make this kind of a choice.”

And people on Twitter have shared their appreciation for Nixon’s frankness. 

The coat hanger, which was often featured on protest signs for decades, represented the horror of a time, when lacking all other options, women took matters into their hands before Roe v Wade legalised abortion.

But with women’s reproductive rights currently being questioned and further restricted in America, it could become an illegal tool once again. A study carried out in 2015 in Texas found that 100,000 women in the state have attempted to self-abort.

It’s also not the first time Nixon has spoken of her mother’s choice. “My mother had an illegal abortion pre-1973, and it’s something that I would never want to face or want my daughter to be facing or any of her friends,” Nixon told CNN in 2009. “Abortion is a right I feel must not go away, and I feel like people aren’t mobilizing so much because it’s so complicated and it’s difficult to understand.”

Images: Getty / Twitter 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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