Daring to Remember: Why Cynthia Nixon Won’t Go Back

This post is part of Daring to Remember, an ongoing series of stories about life in the years before Roe v. Wade and in the face of contemporary attacks on the right to abortionIn these uncertain times, we are fighting for Roe and safe, legal abortion access with our own testimonies about life without choice. We are daring to remember what a nation without safe, legal abortion access looks like. Submit a story here.

At a rally Tuesday, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon urged activists to “fight like hell” for reproductive rights—and shared the story of her mother’s illegal abortion while holding up a wire coat hanger.

In her remarks, Nixon recounted what she knew of her mother’s abortion experience.

Abortion rights and reproductive rights is a very personal issue for me. 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. 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, she pulled out a wire hanger.

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.

We must never, 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.


Amy DePoy is a student at Yale University and a former editorial intern at Ms. She loves feminism, reading and writing. She also loves all fruits, but especially strawberries.