Pro-Kavanaugh Councilman: ‘Better Get Your Coat Hangers Ready’

A Parkersburg, West Virginia Councilman Seemed to Suggest That Liberal Women Should Prepare to Have Unsafe Abortions

Parkersburg, West Virginia City Councilman Eric Barber (Photo via Barber's Facebook page).

A West Virginia city councilman seemed to insinuate that women should prepare to have dangerous back alley abortions in light of the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Better get you’re coathangers ready liberals,” (sic) Parkersburg City Councilman Eric Barber, an anti-abortion activist, wrote in a now-deleted Facebook comment to a private group after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin – a Democrat – announced he would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The comment can still be seen thanks to screenshots shared by local residents.

Women’s rights groups fear Kavanaugh, a conservative justice whose nomination by President Trump was first approved by the right-wing, anti-abortion Federalist Society, could overturn Roe v. Wade – the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Coat hangers are often cited as a tool that was used to induce unsafe abortions when women did not have access to legal abortions by licensed practicians.

Deep South Voice verified the veracity of the screenshots by speaking to multiple residents who saw and made screenshots of the comment.

(Note: This story has been updated; see below near bottom.)

Eric Engle, a local activist, shared a screenshot of the comment and called Barber “the most worthless piece of human garbage I’ve ever encountered.”

A screenshot of a Facebook comment by Parkersburg Councilman Eric Barber.

“Eric Barber really posted this, yes he did,” wrote a resident of nearby Charleston, West Virginia who lists herself on Facebook as CorneliaBelle Calvert LeFevre. “He thought these words through and posted these violent words. Please understand, he is directing this little cowardly word spam toward WOMEN.You are the vilest of scum, Eric Barber.”

Photos and videos on Barber’s Facebook – now set to private – show him attending pro-Kavanaugh rallies. On one post, he claimed that a pro-choice protester recently threw a coat hanger at him at a Kavanaugh protest, but Deep South Voice could not verify that claim.

Voters first elected Barber in November 2016, when he ran as a Democrat. He left the party in 2017 and became an independent, accusing Wood County Democratic Party Chairman Daryl Cobranchi of “anti-Christian rhetoric” after Barber refused to a support a non-discrimination ordinance Cobranchi supported. The ordinance would’ve extended nondiscrimination protections to LGBT residents.

After his “coathangers” comment, residents posted screenshots of other comments Barber has made during his time as a city councilman. In one comment, posted on a video about a young boy who dresses in drag, Barber tagged one local gay rights advocate, writing that he “may be quick to defend this form of child exploitation because he may be one of the many gay men who enjoys watching pre-puberty boys compete in drag shows.”

In another screenshot, he referred to himself as a “head hunter” of “alt left liberals.”

In July, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the Parkersburg City Council for its practice of reciting Christian prayers at each meeting – a practice enforced by Barber:

Local plaintiffs include [Wood County Democratic Party Executive Committee Chairman] Daryl Cobranchi, who has frequently attended meetings and been directed to stand for the Lord’s prayer, a practice, he notes, which has made him conspicuous by his nonparticipation and which “assigns to second-class status anyone who is not Christian.” Likewise, Eric Engle, also a Parkersburg resident, follows city matters and has felt uncomfortable and pressured to participate in the Christian prayer during public meetings.

At least one member of the City Council has been openly hostile to nonparticipants, the legal complaint charges. Councilman Eric Barber glared at attendees who sat during the prayer at a meeting in September. At the end of that prayer, Barber positioned himself near his microphone, pressed the button, and shouted, “Amen.”

Neither the Parkersburg City Council nor Eric Barber returned a request for comment as of Sunday afternoon, but Stacy Nanette, a Mississippi resident who heard about Barber’s comment through social media, did get in contact with Bob Mercer, another Parkersburg City Councilman.

“We on Council are kept to a higher standard,” Mercer wrote, saying he’d spoken to Barber about the comment. “Understand that this statement does not reflect the feelings [of others on Council].”

(h/t: Stacy Nanette)

Update (10/7/18, 12:51 p.m. CST): Barber’s fellow councilman, Bob Mercer, wrote the following in defense of Barber in a message to Deep South Voice: “When he was in Washington DC this year the day Justice Kavanaugh was nominated a lady threw a coat hanger at him and hit him in the face for being happy about it. He admitted that he should have explained it instead of letting it sit there.”

Deep South Voice was unable to verify Barber and Mercer’s claim that a protester threw a coat hanger at Barber, and Barber did not respond to a request for comment to explain his “coat hanger” comment.

Written by Ashton Pittman

Ashton is the founder of Deep South Voice. He is also the State Reporter for the Jackson Free Press, where he covers Mississippi politics and campaigns. A Mississippi native who studied journalism and politics at the University of Southern Mississippi, his work has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, on, and a number of other outlets. He has made appearances on MSNBC, NPR Radio, and several other broadcast and radio shows. You can follow him on Twitter @ashtonpittman.


  1. I am appalled to hear that another elected Republican official would say something so vile & cruel. If the inference about “using coat hangers” is correct then the City Council should demand that he resign. He may have not been born prior to 1973 when SCOTUS enacted the law which legalized abortion. Probably, he doesn’t give a Tinker’s damn about what women had to endure. That said, many of American citizens do care. If you are against divorce, don’t get one. The same with abortion which is a difficult decision for a woman to make.

    This is the 1st time I have ever seen “Dep” . Ergo, I haven’t duplicated my comment. Publish it or not ~ if you don’t ,then bias ias an issue with your Web site.

  2. I am appalled to hear that another elected Republican official would say something so vile & cruel. If the inference about “using coat hangers” is correct then the City Council should demand that he resign. He may have not been born prior to 1973 when SCOTUS enacted the law which legalized abortion. Probably, he doesn’t give a Tinker’s damn about what women had to endure. That said, many of American citizens do care. If you are against divorce, don’t get one. The same with abortion which is a difficult decision for a woman to make.

  3. He probably was hit with a coat hanger, but it was probably on another day by someone who wasn’t a Democrat. Where are his witnesses to that event? Just using the same logic used to make Ms. Ford less credible.

  4. Deep South Voice – Do a quick check into this fine upstanding Christian politician’s very recent arrest records in both WV and bordering OH that include possession of drugs among others.
    And don’t forget the local news article on his kayaking adventure during a devastating flood that got him stuck in a tree, wasting local resources in rescuing him.

  5. What a mean, insensitive thing to say. Shows that he knows very well that abortion will continue as always, just more dangerously for women (so begs the question of what is the point of Roe reversal? Gets harder to argue that it’s for the precious children when you fully acknowledge it will continue as it always has)

  6. More like, “Compassionate charities, be prepared to book flights to legal states.” Also, the ignorant idea that only liberal women find themselves in need of such services is simultaneously laughable and sad.

    Such evil and lack of empathy. I wonder if men like this realize that overturning this also means they overturn potential cases that affect men, too. If the government wants to do something that intrudes on someone’s body, or a company wants to do the same, but government can’t be relied on to intervene, that can become very harmful to personal liberty. This is ultimately about our inviolate body rights.

    Also, I know it’s not much consolation, but overturning Roe v. Wade will made this a state matter again, so there will be a significant number of states where this will remain legal.

  7. He PROVES he does NOT KNOW ANYTHING of Christ’s teachings and so many anti-Christ pastors who are out for Earthly possessions and power over others show over and over and over again.


    The Lord’s Prayer
    (Luke 11:1-4)

    5And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    7And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

  8. Sorry, just because an angry activist threw coat hangers at him once upon a time does NOT justify the disgustingly unacceptable comment he made publicly! He should be REMOVED from the city council, as well as his fellow councilmember feebly attempting to stick up for him!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE in a “public servant”!!!! This scumbag is paid for with the publics money, that means he represents ALL of the people, NOT just right wing white males and anti-abortion fanatics, but ALL people, including WOMEN!!!! I’d be in his face up close and personally if he was my representative, and it wouldn’t just be a coat hanger he’d get in his face from me!~

  9. I think anyone who doesn’t have a vagina should STFU about anything to do with the female body. They are not qualified to speak on the subject. But here’s a little taste of their own medicine. To this human excrement I say this. “I think dildo is a perfectly acceptable insult. I’d call you a dick but you’re not real enough.” And while you’re at it, keep your freaking bibles out of vaginas as well. I’d lay odds that he likes Kavanaughty because he’s a sexual predator too. A completely holy and devout sexual predator, but a predator nonetheless. I still can’t believe that people actually voted for this crap on a cracker. Why on earth would someone that insanely right wing switch to being a Democrat anyway? Maybe he doesn’t know how to read platforms or mission statements.

  10. And the countdown begins until this fine, upstanding paragon of Conservative Christian morals is found in a public bathroom with an underage transsexual Hispanic hooker……

    • Please do not insult underage transsexual Hispanic hookers. I like to believe they would have more common sense than to be seen in the company of the good Christian Councilman.

  11. I don’t believe your “update” for one hot second. I was in DC for peaceful civil disobedience, and I witnessed nothing of the sort. Nobody was throwing anything. This is made up fiction, plain and simple. You should detract it.

    • We never said the explanation he gave was true; we simply reported what the councilman said in response to our request for comment. You’re free to disbelieve him.

      • You also seem to not do any verifiable journalism either. All we got was “yes siree we done seen everythin’“ nothing of actual independent verification. If this is what passes for journalism these days, no wonder the term “fake news” sticks so well.

        • We spoke to several residents who saw the comment and gathered copies of the screenshot of the comment from multiple people before we ran the story. As for the claim that a protester threw a coat hanger at Barber 3 months ago, we only have Barber’s word and no evidence to back it up (and Barber won’t respond to requests for comment), so there’s no way to verify that claim unless the alleged protester or another eye witness comes to us. If Barber has evidence, we welcome him to send it to us, but again, he won’t respond to us.

  12. Did he file a police report immediately after the alleged attack? If not, I think he’s lying. He sounds a little hysterical to me. Besides, even if someone DID throw a coat hanger at him, it was probably a teenager….we wouldn’t want to ruin their lives over a “youthful indiscretion”.

    • Except your forgetting if your going to put together a story with characters in it you must make sure those characters are going to remember the story. What kind of person almost gets raped and fears that their life is in danger and that walks out the door and leaves her best friend? Who does that?

      • Wow I cannot believe woman who say things like this, so basically your giving permission to every man and boy to rape a female family member – they can do it knowing they will be defended by woman like you. Congratulations you can take responsibility for the increase in rapes and it won’t just be just liberal females, in fact I would say the majority of the rapes will be done by men on your side of political spectrum. Get that guest room ready for your daughter and her rapist baby.

      • dottiesue
        Except you are forgetting that a non-thinking individual who could misspell such a simple word as “you’re” not once but twice in the first 5 words they type doesn’t have enough brain power to have an independent opinion. Keep your stupid opinions to yourself.

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