Women wear Handmaid’s Tale red robes to protest abortion laws in Texas

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Moya Crockett
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Women in the US have been donning costumes inspired by Margaret Atwood’s classic feminist dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, to protest legislation that could affect their ability to control their own bodies.

Activists wearing red capes and white bonnets entered the Texas Senate on Monday, as lawmakers considered several abortion-related bills.

Female characters wear heavy red robes and white caps in Atwood’s ground-breaking 1985 book, which tells the story of women forced into sexual servitude in a totalitarian state formerly known as the United States of America.

 Many people, including Atwood, have spotted the parallels between The Handmaid’s Tale and the current socio-political climate in the US, and the book shot up bestseller lists shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

One of the bills being discussed by the Texas Senate on Monday would effectively ban a safe and common procedure used for second trimester terminations, the Huffington Post reports. This bill was passed, and will now go to the House.

Texas politicians also moved forward with a bill that would effectively allow anti-choice doctors to lie to pregnant women if they spotted a foetal abnormality.

Under Senate Bill 25, doctors could withhold information about the poor health of a foetus if they were concerned that the news could prompt a woman to terminate her pregnancy because she was not financially, emotionally, mentally or physically capable of caring for a disabled child.

It’s not difficult to see the similarities between a world in which these bills are passed and the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, in which women are denied all bodily agency and reduced to nothing more than childbearing vessels.

Photos of the Texan pro-choice activists in full dystopian gear quickly did the rounds on social media, alongside the hashtag #FightBackTX.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been the subject of much conversation recently, thanks in part to the news that a TV series starring Alexis Bledel, Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley is in the works.

Atwood herself has attributed the surge of interest in her decades-old book to fears that President Donald Trump will curtail women’s rights.

In October, the 77-year-old feminist author called out Trump supporters who want to take away women’s right to vote, saying: “The Handmaid’s Tale [is] unfolding in front of your very eyes.”

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