These Women Dressed Up as Characters From "The Handmaid's Tale" to Protest Anti-Abortion Laws

May 9th 2017

Women in Texas dressed up like characters from the dystopian "Handmaid's Tale" to protest anti-abortion legislation. 

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, an abortion rights advocacy organization, staged a protest against multiple anti-abortion bills, proposed in the Texas state legislature.

"The Handmaid's Tale" is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and now show on Hulu that depicts a fundamentalist dictatorship government in the near-feature. 

There are five bills on the calendar this week that the House is expected to debate and vote on: 

  • House Bill 2962 would increase the reporting requirements of abortion facilities for abortion complications. 
  • House Bill 3771 This bill aims to clarify the definition of abortion and underline that surgery to remove certain type of pregnancies are not abortions. Naral Pro-Choice Texas says that because the bill does not include exemptions for other types of pregnancy it's an "attempt to politicize abortion." 
  • House Bill 1936 This bill aims to put restrictions on government funds from facilities that provide abortion services. 
  • House Bill 200 This bill would stop the donation of fetal tissue from abortions for research purposes. 
  • House Bill 2858 This bill requires abortion providers to post information about human trafficking.  NARAL Pro-Choice Texas says that this bill singles out abortion providers but should include all health providers. "A genuine effort to identify victims should include other health care providers equally or more likely to come into contact with human trafficking victims, such as emergency rooms, dentists, and low-cost clinics," wrote the organization. "Without expanding the scope of this bill to include these providers, this bill is simply a targeted regulation of abortion providers."

In March, a group of Texas women staged a similar protest against Texas SB 415, which aimed to ban a type of abortion procedure for second trimester abortions. The bill passed the Senate. 

Texas has been a hot bed of anti-abortion legislation. Most famously, in 2013 former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis staged an 11-hour filibuster against the controversial bill House Bill 2. "Under HB 2, it’s estimated that 90 percent of the abortion clinics in Texas will be forced to close their doors," ThinkProgress reported at the time that the bill was being considered. "In fact, in anticipation of the burdensome new requirements, some clinics have already started shutting down."

The law eventually passed in July of 2013, but was it overturned by the Supreme Court in 2016 in the case Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, after Center for Reproductive Health sued in 2014 saying the bill created "an undue burden on Texas women" on women trying to access abortion services, the Independent reported.

Texas is not the only state putting forth anti-choice legislation.

"In just the first three months of the year [2017], legislators introduced 1,053 provisions related to reproductive health," the Guttmacher Institute found. "Of these measures, 431 would restrict access to abortion services and 405 are proactive measures seeking to expand access to other sexual and reproductive health services."

However, the organization does note that "[a]lthough the number of abortion restrictions introduced is about on par with past years, the number of proactive measures grew from 221 in 2015 and 353 in 2016, reflecting growing interest among both advocates and policymakers."

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