On Tuesday, June 27, a group of protesters representing Planned Parenthood dressed as Handmaids from the Hulu streaming series “The Handmaid’s Tale” in order to oppose the GOP’s Senate health care bill, which was written secretly before being unveiled last Thursday, June 22. The Congressional Budget Office evaluated the bill and revealed on June 26 that it would lead to 22 million fewer people insured than under the current law.
Planned Parenthood communications director Fern Whyland said, “It would be the worst bill for women in generations and decimate women’s health care. It’s a health care bill with no health care.” Added fellow protestor Elena Lipsiea, “Dressing up as a handmaid gives a clear message to our administration and the Senate about how seriously we take their decisions and how radically it can affect our lives.”
The Republican-written bill targets Planned Parenthood by defunding the health provider for at least a year. Planned Parenthood has long been a target of conservatives for providing abortion services, even though no federal money is spent on abortions. Instead, the bill targets Planned Parenthood by cutting Medicaid reimbursements for the organization, which could affect those who depend on Planned Parenthood for various health services.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is based on a 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood and tells the story of Gilead, a puritanical dictatorship that used to be the United States where fertile women (led by lead actress Elisabeth Moss) are forced to conceive children for powerful, infertile couples. Women in general are forbidden from reading or working, and sexual minorities are also persecuted. Many worried that the election of Donald Trump last November would reverse progress towards women’s equality, prompting a number of Women’s Marches across the country the day after his inauguration. Now “Handmaid’s” has been taken up as a cautionary “Tale.”
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