Pro-Abortion Group Pleads With Activists To Stop Referencing 'Handmaid's Tale'

"Handmaid's Tale references turn a blind eye to the centuries of oppression people of color ... have faced"

Protester wearing a Handmaid's Tale costume, via Reuters.
July 15, 2022

A pro-abortion activist group is urging protesters to quit making references to The Handmaid's Tale, arguing allusions to the book are insensitive to the oppression of minorities. 

"You can't wear people's real oppression as a costume. Throw the red cloaks away," REPRO Rising Virginia said Thursday. "Handmaid's Tale references turn a blind eye to the centuries of oppression people of color, specifically Black, brown, and indigenous women, have faced regarding their reproductive rights."

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel written in 1985, depicts a future in which women have been enslaved by a theocratic government in the United States. Abortion activists have long used the book as a symbol of their movement supporting unrestricted elective abortions, often dressing up in the red costumes donned by the novel’s protagonists. 

REPRO Rising Virginia also urges activists to swap references to "women" for "people" on protest signs to avoid excluding transgender people. 

"It is exclusionary to only center cisgender women in pro-abortion messaging," the group said. "Not all people who can get pregnant identify as women."

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, abortion activists have mobilized across the country to protest the ruling. Despite their efforts, very few Americans list abortion as their top issue. In a June Gallup poll, only 1 percent of respondents cited abortion as the most important issue facing the country.

REPRO Rising Virginia rebranded earlier this year after the national lobbying organization NARAL Pro-Choice America disbanded its state chapters to better pursue federal advocacy. The group told Virginia Mercury that they are pivoting to focus on providing transportation to abortion appointments and opening new clinics. 

Published under: Abortion , Roe v. Wade