'The Handmaid's Tale' Inspired A Powerful Protest For Women's Health At The U.S. Capitol

It was organized by Planned Parenthood.

The Handmaid's Tale came to life at the United States Capitol on Tuesday in the form of a hauntingly powerful protest against the Senate GOP's health care bill.

According to The Hill, a group of 30 Planned Parenthood volunteers, dressed in attire inspired by Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel, came to Washington, D.C., from New York, as part of the People's Filibuster, a series of speeches from those opposed to the health care bill.

Fern Whyland, communications director of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, reportedly said of the bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, "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."

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Senate's bill to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act would result in 22 million people losing health insurance by 2026. One of the many controversial provisions is the defunding of Planned Parenthood for one year by blocking Medicaid reimbursements.

The Senate bill, like the House version, has received widespread criticism, including from many disability rights activists, some of whom were removed from their wheelchairs and arrested while peacefully protesting outside Sen. Mitch McConnell's office last week. As of Tuesday, a vote on the bill was delayed until after the July 4 recess.

The Handmaid's Tale depicts a society in which women are stripped of their rights and "handmaids" are forced to carry children for the ruling class. The story gained popularity this year as Hulu premiered a television series based on the novel. Many see its message as a timely one, and the iconic red cloaks and white caps have become a powerful symbol — and a warning for the country's future.

This wasn't the first demonstration inspired by Atwood's novel. Protesters around the country have dressed as handmaids to advocate for women's rights, including women in Ohio, who earlier this month filed into the statehouse to protest an anti-abortion bill.

Elena Lipsiea, one of the protesters at the Capitol, told The Hill what the choice of costume represents: "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."

(H/T: Hello Giggles)


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