The Handmaid's Tale: Women are channelling the classic book to protest the healthcare bill

Planned Parenthood volunteers dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets to protest the brutality and sexism of the GOP's healthcare bill 

Clarisse Loughrey
Wednesday 28 June 2017 11:47
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The eeriness of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has never felt more palpable.

With the recent Hulu series bringing the novel's themes to the forefront of current cultural discourse, it's become unnerving to watch the parallels unfold before our eyes, as women's reproductive rights have come increasingly under attack by the Trump administration.

Atwood's 1985 book sets itself in the fictional Republic of Gilead, an authoritarian theocracy which comes to power in the US. Women here are treated as nothing more than wives, servants, or breeders, referred to as "handmaids"; with Offred being one of these women denigrated and exploited for her fertility in ongoing efforts to repopulate the country, though she still fights for her freedom and for the husband and child snatched away from her.

At a demonstration staged by Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, women donned the handmaids' red cloaks and white bonnets as part of their protest, creating a chilling image for passerbys. It's not the first time these sort of protests have happened, with women donning similar costumes to protest anti-abortion laws across the country.


"It would be the worst bill for women in generations and decimate women's healthcare. It's a healthcare bill with no healthcare," Fern Whyland, communications director at Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, told The Hill.

"Dressing up as a handmaid gives a clear message to our administration and the Senate about how seriously we take their decisions and how radically it can affect our lives," Elena Lipsiea, one of the volunteers dressed as handmaiden added.

Republicans delayed a vote for the bill, which would defund Planned Parenthood for one year, while preventing women from using federal tax credits to buy insurance plans covering abortion services.

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