Abortion and authoritarianism: Why women’s freedom threatens male supremacy

The notion that men are superior to women is the root of all human inequality. That's why we must fight it

OCTOBER 23, 2022

Will America's future be one of democracy and women's control over their own bodies or one of authoritarianism and forced pregnancy? The two issues most motivating Americans to vote for Democrats in the rapidly approaching midterm elections are far more intertwined than is generally recognized.

At a time when right-wing extremists are hellbent on making American states — or, as many intend the whole nation — into the fictional Republic of Gilead, it is appropriate to turn to Margaret Atwood. "Tyrants and dictators like Adolf Hitler and Nicolae Ceausescu have often dictated the terms of fertility and criminalized those who did not comply," she pointed out in 2017. "It's no accident that Napoleon banned abortion. He said exactly what he wanted offspring for — cannon fodder. Lovely!"

Continued: https://www.salon.com/2022/10/23/abortion-and-authoritarianism-why-womens-freedom-threatens-male-supremacy/

I invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is making it real.

I thought I was writing fiction in The Handmaid’s Tale.

By Margaret Atwood, The Atlantic
MAY 13, 2022

In the early years of the 1980s, I was fooling around with a novel that explored a future in which the United States had become disunited. Part of it had turned into a theocratic dictatorship based on 17th-century New England Puritan religious tenets and jurisprudence. I set this novel in and around Harvard University—an institution that in the 1980s was renowned for its liberalism, but that had begun three centuries earlier chiefly as a training college for Puritan clergy.

In the fictional theocracy of Gilead, women had very few rights, as in 17th-century New England. The Bible was cherry-picked, with the cherries being interpreted literally.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/supreme-court-roe-handmaids-tale-abortion-margaret-atwood/629833/

Europe – The abortion travel agents: ‘Some women know what they need, others just say: help’

With reproductive rights being increasingly restricted in Europe, people are relying on a network of volunteers to help them

Introduction Margaret Atwood
Interviews Candice Pires
Sat 19 Feb 2022

When The Handmaid’s Tale first came out in 1985, the initial response was broadly that people thought such threats to women’s bodies and reproductive rights “couldn’t happen here”. By the time it aired as a TV series in 2017, just after Donald Trump was inaugurated in the US, people were no longer so sure. With every headline about gains in reproductive rights – Ireland repealing the eighth amendment in 2018, which had effectively banned abortions – there are others that underscore how fragile these rights are, wherever you live.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/19/the-abortion-travel-agents-some-women-know-what-they-need-others-just-say-help-europe-margaret-atwood

Abortion pledge adds to scepticism over women’s rights in China

Analysis: plan to reduce abortions as birthrates plunge draws comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale

Helen Davidson in Taipei
Wed 29 Sep 2021

Far-reaching proposals from Beijing on “women’s development” have sparked concern over a pledge to reduce abortions, with feminists and academics pointing to the government’s history of control over women’s reproductive rights.

On Monday China’s state council published its latest 10-year outline for women’s development. The lengthy document contained guidelines for China’s gender-based policy, but it was a short phrase that caught particular attention: a pledge to “reduce abortions conducted for non-medical reasons”.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/29/abortion-pledge-adds-to-scepticism-over-womens-rights-in-china

Republicans would miss legal abortion, just like they would have missed Obamacare

The Supreme Court just saved the Affordable Care Act, and the GOP, for the third time. But what about legal abortion? A post-Roe v. Wade world looms.

Tom Krattenmaker, Opinion columnist
June 17, 2021

When the Republican Party finally got its chance to throw out Obamacare, it acted like a dog that had caught up with the car it was chasing and had no idea what to do next.

The GOP might find itself in a similarly absurd situation if it gets the post-Roe v. Wade world it has been pursuing – which, because of Supreme Court lineup changes and a potentially decisive case heading its way, is on the verge of becoming much more than a politically useful abstract concept.

Continued: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/06/17/republicans-escape-obamacare-debacle-abortion-next/7583695002/

The slow, punishing arc of “The Handmaid’s Tale” mirrors our struggle for reproductive rights

The show’s repetition and lack of progress through four seasons feel achingly familiar – and maybe that's the point


After almost two years, Hulu's "Handmaid's Tale" returned for its fourth season in April, picking up right where it left off throughout its last three seasons of gratuitous violence with minimal plot payoff. Wednesday's episode follows June's escape from Gilead into refuge in Canada, as she will reunite with loved ones and figures from her past after years of separation and recycled plotlines.

Set in the fictional dystopia of Gilead, "The Handmaid's Tale" depicts America's future after a civil war and takeover by religious political extremists who relegate all women to "handmaids," or baby incubators for powerful men and their wives. Handmaids are denied access to education, or really any basic human rights or bodily autonomy, which has consistently helped the Hulu drama strike a chord amid ongoing, escalating attacks on reproductive rights in the U.S.

Continued: https://www.salon.com/2021/05/26/handmaids-tale-abortion-reproductive-rights/

Polish women’s groups work to circumvent new abortion regime

October’s court ruling outlaws abortions even in the case of foetal abnormalities

May 8, 2021
Derek Scally in Berlin

Justyna Wydrzynska draws an exhausted breath before describing her long days assisting the Polish women who call her each day for help.

A member of the ironically titled Abortion Dream Team, a collective which helps Polish women secure terminations abroad, Ms Wydrzynska said the women who reached her were living in a waking nightmare.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/polish-women-s-groups-work-to-circumvent-new-abortion-regime-1.4558721

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Unpacks “Traumatizing” Abortion-Themed Episode

Madeline Brewer and showrunner Bruce Miller speak to The Hollywood Reporter about how the pandemic impacted some of their plans and why they are proud of the powerful story told in season four.

MAY 7, 2021

“I’m honored to tell this part of the story,” says Madeline Brewer.

The Handmaid’s Tale star, who has played Handmaid Janine since the beginning of the flagship Hulu drama, can’t quite recall when she found out that her character would be getting a flashback in the fourth season, which returned to streaming on April 28.

Continued: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/handmaids-tale-madeline-brewer-janine-1234948654/

USA – Abortion curbs led to book: Atwood

Abortion curbs led to book: Atwood
Moves to limit women's access to abortion, particularly in the United States, led to The Testaments

By Reuters in London
Published 11.09.19

Canadian author Margaret Atwood said moves to limit women's access to abortion, particularly in the United States, led to the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale which was released on Tuesday in a hotly-anticipated cultural event.

The Testaments sees Atwood pick up the story from her 1985 account of a totalitarian future in which fertile women are forced into sexual servitude to repopulate a world facing environmental disaster. She said she had not planned a sequel to the story, which was set in fictional Gilead in the US region of New England in the near future, but real life political events, including moves to limit women’s reproductive rights, led her to reconsider.

Continued: https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/abortion-curbs-led-to-book-atwood/cid/1704011

Margaret Atwood Thinks Roe v. Wade Will Be Overturned⁠—and There Will Be the ‘Most Horrific Backlash

Margaret Atwood Thinks Roe v. Wade Will Be Overturned⁠—and There Will Be the 'Most Horrific Backlash'

By Chantal Da Silva
On 9/10/19

As states across America continue to usher in new laws imposing restrictions on abortion, Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale has become increasingly relevant in its depiction of a totalitarian regime that sees women's bodies as properties of the state.

And now, as Atwood releases The Testaments, her much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, the Canadian author has also offered a premonition for the future of abortion laws in the U.S.

Continued: https://www.newsweek.com/margaret-atwood-testaments-handmaids-tale-abortion-laws-u-s-roe-v-wade-1458483