When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
For the next few days, my Quote for the Day is going to be taken from The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s terrifying near-future dystopian novel about a woman named Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead who subverts the violent patriarchy that keeps her enslaved.
Gilead is the successor nation to the United States, which was defeated in a war that’s referenced in different parts of the novel. This gleaming new country is a theocracy where women exist in a caste system determined by their level of reproductive viability. Women who are of childbearing age and fertile are sex slaves in the houses of their Commanders, the men who are in charge of Gilead. Essentially, they’re on the same level as livestock, their worth tied exclusively to their output, i.e. children. They are forbidden to read, own property, or hold political office. They have no civil rights and are expected to remain silent, obedient, and modest.
With the surge of anti-abortion legislation sweeping the country, Atwood’s tale has never been more timely. Abortion has been all but completely banned in the South and parts of the Midwest, and Roe v. Wade is under threat of being overturned. This summer, the Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Dobbs challenges a Mississippi law that would ban the majority of abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. This draconian law would force pregnant people to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term in all but the most extreme cases of fetal deformity.
Forcing someone to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is an act of abject cruelty. The people who want to do this say they are acting in defense of the fetus, and let’s say for argument’s sake that that’s true. If these people are truly pro-life, let them put their money where their mouths are. If people are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, then we should also expand the social safety net by leaps and bounds. Increase funding for WIC, SNAP, HUD subsidies, welfare cash payments, and universal Pre-K-12 education. Pass common sense gun control laws. Pay reparations to the descendants of people who were enslaved. Institute a wealth tax and use the tax monies to create millions of jobs through a Green New Deal. Do all of that to show you are truly pro-life or shut up.
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