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Activists Dress in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Robes to Protest Texas Abortion Legislation

Emma Niles
Assistant Editor
Emma Niles, an assistant editor at Truthdig, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in political science. She has worked for the National Women’s Law Center and Ms. Magazine.…
Emma Niles

Women dressed as “handmaids” enter the Texas Senate chamber. (Screen shot via Instagram)

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 feminist dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been getting renewed attention since President Trump took office. Characters from the novel seemed to come to life earlier this week during a Texas Senate meeting, as a group of women arrived in the chamber clad in the signature red robes and white bonnets of the sexual surrogates in Atwood’s book.

The Handmaids are about to hit the Senate.

A post shared by Nan Kirkpatrick (@nanarchist) on Mar 20, 2017 at 11:41am PDT

The women were quietly protesting two abortion bills, Texas Senate Bill 415 and Texas Senate Bill 25. SB 415, which bans a commonly used abortion procedure cloaked under anti-choice rhetoric, and SB 25, which allows doctors to keep information from patients under the guise of protecting them from lawsuits, both passed in the Texas Senate Monday.

Sales of “The Handmaid’s Tale” have skyrocketed since Trump’s election, and the book has been adapted in a soon-to-be-released television series on Hulu.

Atwood herself has openly discussed the similarities between Trump’s presidency and the book she penned over three decades ago.

“Back in 1984, the main premise seemed — even to me — fairly outrageous. Would I be able to persuade readers that the United States had suffered a coup that had transformed an erstwhile liberal democracy into a literal-minded theocratic dictatorship?” she recently wrote for The New York Times. “In the wake of the recent American election, fears and anxieties proliferate. Basic civil liberties are seen as endangered, along with many of the rights for women won over the past decades, and indeed the past centuries.”

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