Fans of Margaret Atwood’s fantastic and horrifying The Handmaid’s Tale are very much looking forward to Hulu’s upcoming adaptation, but this week the story’s imagery is also making news in the Texas senate.
As anyone paying attention in this increasingly troublesome political climate knows, we women are in a countrywide fight to keep our right to control our own bodies. For every forward step we’ve gained, there’s a religiously motivated contingent working to push us backward again, and to further a goal of imposing their particular morals onto the rest of the country. Separation of church and state seems to be a foreign concept as some of the more conservative states continue their attempts to obliterate access to abortion or at the very least, to make it such a difficult, convoluted process for doctors and patients, perhaps they’ll give up. And if you think that’s exaggeration, consider Texas’ proposed Bill SB25: “Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action”, which would disallow parents suing an OB who discovered a fetal anomaly and failed to disclose it to the parents, effectively allowing doctors to keep such information from patients. ”
SB 25 is a not-so-subtle way of giving medical personnel the opportunity to impose the religious beliefs on pregnant women by withholding information about the condition of their fetus and depriving them of making an informed decision about continuing with their pregnancy,” [Margaret Johnson, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Texas]
Also up for a senate vote were SB415 and SB 258, which deal with second term abortion procedures and handling of fetal remains.
Yesterday, a group of NARAL Texas activists dressed in the unmistakable
Handmaids’ red robes and white headgear aka white wings, the novel’s designated garb for select women officially deemed child bearers by the government.
The activists filed into the senate chamber carrying signs, and they silently sat in protest of the proposed amendments. The visual provided a powerful, peaceful and beautiful message.
Unfortunately, the protesters were eventually escorted out by police, and the senate passed SB 415 and 25. It’s beyond insanity when a state basically gives the okay for important information about fetal health to be willfully withheld from a patient who may not be able to financially care for a severely disabled child, or to give that patient the information necessary to prepare for a child that may eventually die, or have to be in a medical facility an extended period of time. Is this really the world we now live in?