Activists Nod to The Handmaid's Tale to Protest Anti-Abortion Bills

Pro-choice protest at Capitol channels dystopian fiction

Cloaked in flowing red robes and white bonnets, more than two dozen activists stood outside the Capitol on Tuesday, May 23, to issue a public warning about the possible fate Texas women could face if legislators continue to attack reproductive rights.

The women were dressed to represent characters from Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, as part of a rally against the slew of anti-abortion measures proposed this session, including package bill SB 8, passed by the House last week.

Dressed as characters from Margaret Atwood's dystopian fiction novel The Handmaid's Tale, activists protest anti-choice bills outside the Capitol on Tuesday, May 23. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Seen as a cautionary tale, Atwood's novel depicts women who are stripped of their rights, including abortion care, in a Christian theocracy. (The 1985 book has seen new life as a hit TV show currently streaming on Hulu.) The handmaids have made appearances in the Senate and House galleries during abortion-related bill debates this session – a creative and visually compelling strategy that sprung from the minds of reproductive rights advocates.

“Our reproductive freedoms are under attack and we don’t want our future to be a dystopian reality,” says Alexa Garcia-Ditta, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ communications director. “There’s a lot of strong imagery and parallels between The Handmaid’s Tale and what is happening in Texas and other red states when it comes to abortion rights.”

While the protesters came to focus their efforts on the cruel and restrictive SB 8, which bans the safest type of second trimester abortion and requires providers to bury or cremate fetal remains from abortion, another anti-choice bill slipped its way past the Senate last night (Monday, May 22), adding more fuel to the fire.

Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, tacked on language from his stalled SB 20 to HB 3124, a bill that deals with insurance information for doctors. Taylor’s measure bans abortion care coverage from private insurance plans and the Affordable Care Act. The legislation would force women to somehow predict pregnancy complications or unplanned pregnancy and purchase supplemental abortion coverage in advance. Pro-choice advocates say the bill will hurt low-income and minority women the hardest. If it receives final approval from the Senate it then moves to the House for consideration. The session ends Monday, May 29.

For more, check out our War on Women's Health page.

READ MORE
More Reproductive Rights
Texas Backs Trump Agency in Holding Undocumented Abortion-Seeking Minor
Texas Backs Trump Agency in Holding Undocumented Abortion-Seeking Minor "Hostage"
Federal agency sent minor to crisis pregnancy center instead

Mary Tuma, Oct. 12, 2017

"Repro Power" Takes Proactive Path in Reproductive Justice Fight
Groups to lobby City Council, Commissioners Court

Mary Tuma, Sept. 28, 2017

More abortion rights
Judge Blocks Texas Abortion Ban
Judge Blocks Texas Abortion Ban
A preliminary injunction hearing is set for Sept. 14

Mary Tuma, Aug. 31, 2017

Attorneys Fight D&E Abortion Ban in Court
Attorneys Fight D&E Abortion Ban in Court
Judge Yeakel plans to issue ruling “quickly” before Sept. 1

Mary Tuma, Aug. 29, 2017

More by Mary Tuma
Learning the Hard Way That Police and Democratic Socialists Rarely Mix
Learning the Hard Way That Police and Democratic Socialists Rarely Mix
CLEAT alum Danny Fetonte's resignation from the Austin DSA raises questions for the local chapter

Oct. 13, 2017

ICE Found Snooping on Council Member Greg Casar
ICE Found Snooping on Council Member Greg Casar
The Intercept uncovers monitoring of elected officials' social media

Oct. 13, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

abortion rights, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Sen. Larry Taylor, reproductive rights, SB 8

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)