Actress and singer Bette Midler urged her 1.53 million Twitter followers to “buy stock in coat hangers” while live tweeting President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.
Trump received applause from Republicans for condemning recent liberal efforts in Virginia and New York to change abortion laws during his address – but the “Beaches” star wasn’t impressed.
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“Buy stock in coat hangers! Here we go, 60 years, back to the back alleys,” Midler wrote.
The crude tweet is obviously a reference to self-induced abortions that sometimes performed with wire coat hangers before the Supreme Court legalized the right to abortion.
Midler’s message came after Trump said “there could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” a reference to recent comments by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam that outraged conservatives.
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Northam, a doctor who came to politics late in life but is caught up in a scandal surrounding his medical school yearbook page, has defended Democrats’ efforts to loosen restrictions on late-term abortions.
During a radio interview last week, Northam described a hypothetical situation where an infant who is severely deformed or unable to survive after birth would be resuscitated “if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue” between the doctor and mother. Democrats privately grumbled about Northam’s comments, and Republicans accused him of supporting infanticide.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat and Roman Catholic, who has said he is duty-bound to separate his religious views from his work as a state official, recently defended his support for the state’s Reproductive Health Act, which he signed in January and mostly codifies abortion rights protected in Roe v. Wade and other federal abortion rulings.
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Under the Reproductive Health Act, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the fetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.
“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth,” Trump said on Tuesday during his State of the Union. “These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.”
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, 16 states could take steps to ban abortion. Four have laws that would trigger bans, while 12 others have anti-abortion laws on the books that have been ruled unconstitutional by courts or have not been enforced due to the 1973 Supreme Court decision, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization.
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Midler was busy on Tuesday during Trump’s State of the Union, sending a variety of critical tweets in addition to the coat hanger remark. She mocked Trump’s “sniffles,” accused him of throwing people off food stamps, mocked rising employment rates as “those minimum wage jobs,” discussed the cost of her medication, pondered who wrote the speech, questions why Trump feels a different president would be in a war with North Korea and said he “begin to foam at the mouth about immigration” at one point.
“A stampede to the exits as the exhausted audience rushes to the nearest open bar,” Midler tweeted when the address concluded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.