‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Comes To Life In Ohio Statehouse To Protest Anti-Abortion Bill

"Let’s call Senate Bill 145 what it is: part of a broader effort to end access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio."

On June 13,16 women dressed in red cloaks and white hoods filed into the Ohio Statehouse in an effort to protest Senate Bill 145, which aims to ban and criminalize the most common method for second-trimester abortions, otherwise known as dilation and evacuation (or D&E).

As HuffPost points out, the women's outfits were inspired by Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale. The 1985 work is about fertile women who become the property of men as they are forced into sexual servitude and systematically stripped of their rights in order to counteract society's plunging birthrate. Many feel the novel, which has since been turned into a Hulu drama starring Elisabeth Moss, eerily echoes parts of today's social and political climate, as some politicians are attempting to curtail women's rights in a similar fashion.



According to The Hill, a group of Texas women protested a very similar bill in their state wearing identical outfits last month.

Tweets and Facebook posts from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, the local chapter of the leading advocacy organization for reproductive rights, show the women entering the statehouse in pairs with their heads down.

The women sat in the front row as the hearing (the bill's first since it was proposed last month) began. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, SB 145 has the power to force women to give birth against their wishes or medical advice.

A press release from the organization adds, "Senate Bill 145 is an unconstitutional proposal that would block access to a safe and legal medical procedure that physicians rely on to terminate a pregnancy."

"In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood said, 'Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.' Today's Handmaid protesters are here to show the members of the Ohio legislature that Ohio women are done being silently restricted in what they may choose for their own health care," NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle said, according to the press release.

"Let's call Senate Bill 145 what it is: part of a broader effort to end access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio," Miracle added, via the press release. "The General Assembly has already passed 18 restrictions that have been signed into law. These restrictions disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color. Our laws already create a system in which some women have the ability to exercise their rights to abortion care and some do not." 

According to Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer, if a physician were to perform a D&E, they could face fourth-degree felony charges. The only exception that would allow the procedure, as outlined in the bill, is if the life of the mother is at serious risk.

During the hearing, a one of the bill's sponsors reportedly said legislatures, not medical professionals, have the right to determine what procedures are best for their patients.



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As stated in additional tweets from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, another sponsor intimated women cannot be trusted to make their own healthcare decisions.

"It's time to stop criminalizing women's health care, interfering with the personal decisions of women, and substituting political agendas for the expertise of health care professionals," Miracle concluded in the press release.

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