Elizabeth Warren agrees Texas abortion law is like The Handmaid’s Tale

‘When abortion is illegal, rich women still get abortions’

Jade Bremner
Friday 03 September 2021 08:57 BST
Elizabeth Warren asked: Is the Handmaid's Tale coming to America?
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Elizabeth Warren has agreed with the comparison of Texas’s new abortion law to something from The Handmaid’s Tale.

The southern state’s new law bans abortion after six weeks, and in Margret Atwood’s dystopian tale women are exploited for their baby-making capabilities.

MSNBC host Joy Reid asked Senator Warren on Wednesday if she thought her comparison between The Handmaid’s Tale and the new law was “hyperbolic”, to which Sen Warren replied “no” before explaining what happens when abortion is illegal.

“I lived in an America in which abortion was illegal when I was young, before Roe vs. Wade. And when abortion is illegal, rich women still get abortions,” she said.

“Women with resources still get abortions. Women who have time and who have friends in other places will still get abortions. So what this law is really about is not stopping abortions across the board. This is about bearing down on the most vulnerable among us.”

The new legislation is the first of its kind in America. Dubbed the “heartbeat bill”, it came into effect on Wednesday and applies to cases when fetal cardiac activity is detectable, around six weeks into pregnancy – which is often before many women even know they are pregnant. A woman is usually alerted to the fact she is pregnant when she misses a period, if she is aware of the exact date of her period. It’s common for periods to be irregular.

The US Supreme Court, with a 6-3 conservative majority, voted down an attempt to block the new law, which means that in Texas, any private citizen can now sue a provider who breaks this law. It’s believed this may create abortion “bounty hunters” and force Texas clinics out of business.

Senator Warren said that those who are financially able to travel to Massachusetts, New York, California, or elsewhere where abortion is legal, will not be affected by the law, but those who cannot take time off work and don’t have the finances to travel will be greatly impacted.

“It’s bearing down on the woman or trans person or non-binary [person] who is working three jobs, the one who is already stretched to the limit,” said Senator Warren to Ms Reid. “The one who is a child who has just found out she is pregnant and doesn’t know how to get organised to get herself the kind of medical treatment she needs…

“This law says they will do everything they can, if you are vulnerable, if you don’t have alternatives, to make sure you are forced into carrying a pregnancy that you do not want to carry.”

Ms Reid continued by stating that women who were poor would still seek to have abortions, but their options could be life-threatening.

“Poor women are going to get abortions too, they’re just going to drink poisonous stuff to get them, they’re going to hurt themselves to get them,” said Ms Reid. “People are still going to get them, they are just going to die trying to get them.”

Senator Warren agreed: “They are not going to get the treatment, the medical care that they are entitled to as human beings.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the new law “flagrantly unconstitutional” and said it “flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents”. In 1973,  the landmark Roe v Wade ruling by the Supreme Court guaranteed women the right to an abortion.

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