Alabama's blanket abortion ban eerily resembles The Handmaid's Tale's dystopian society
The Margaret Atwood fiction, set in a near-future United States, relays a narrative of a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy where women are subjugated by men, who enslave them and take control of their reproductive ability
25 white, male Alabama senators, on Tuesday, decided to seal the fate of all the women in the state as they collectively voted for a draconian ban on abortion. Within a few hours, the bill was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey, establishing a near-total ban on abortions in the state. The law does not even make exceptions for rape and incest.
Ivey signed the bill with a mandate from God, saying in a statement: "This legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God."
The statement, in effect, reflects how the state and much of the deep south are devolving into a Republican theocracy, not dissimilar from the dystopian world of author Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale.' The fiction, set in a near-future United States, relays a narrative of a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy where women are subjugated by men, who enslave them and take control over their reproductive ability.
The Alabama legislation makes one exception — the mother's health, suggesting how the Republican male senators view women as mere reproductive vessels bereft of freedom, again striking a haunting similitude with Atwood's fiction where the only thing considered sacred about a woman is her fertile womb, with anyone in the way of conception executed. Under the Alabama bill, doctors who perform abortions on women can face up to 99 years in prison. In effect, a life sentence.
In the era of increasing infertility and declining birthrates due to environmental pollution, Atwood's novel sees the formation of the Republic of Gilead, which overthrows the U.S. government, targets and captures women with healthy reproductive systems, enslaves them and forces them to produce children for the ruling class of men known as "Commanders." The women, labeled "Handmaids," are sent to men's houses and routinely raped in a "ceremony" until they conceive.
Once they give birth, they are sent to another commander's house to live the same horrific tale. It's not just the Handmaid's, other women are also classed socially in the stringent patriarchal society where they are forbidden from holding property, handling money, and even reading or writing.
Several protesters took to streets across the country Wednesday, protesting legislation of states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio, which imposed strict regulations on abortions, stripping women of their choice and decisions of their own bodies.
Gilead's main character, Offred, in a crimson red attire, is reminiscent of similar events which led to the fall of women's rights in America, leading to a living hell for her and other women. It appears, we in 2019, are living those events, warning of far worse things ahead.
The women of Gilead, however, rebel, forming esoteric groups in an attempt to regain their individualism and independence. A similar scene was witnessed Wednesday when a faction of women – dressed in the long red gowns of the Handmaids and their pristine white bonnets — appeared, standing stoic before the Alabama State House, holding placards in their hands, demanding reinstitution of their reproductive rights.
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act will come into effect in six months. The bill was formulated to be taken to higher courts in an attempt to exterminate Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling which makes abortions legal across the United States.
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