Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The "Handmaid's Tale" Argument for Abortion
I read the book The Handmaid's Tale. I have not watched the TV series.
The book is a story about a totalitarian dystopia premised on the theocratic oppression of women. The Christian God has declared that women are nothing but ovens of flesh within which babies are cooked and born. Women are "incubators," and nothing more.
This quote from the book explains this dystopian view of women. The woman who tells her story is the reproductive surrogate Offred, who says:
"We are for breeding purposes: we aren’t concubines, geisha girls, courtesans. On the contrary: everything possible has been done to remove us from that category. There is supposed to be nothing entertaining about us, no room is to be permitted for the flowering of secret lusts; no special favors are to be wheedled, by them or us, there are to be no toeholds for love. We are two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices." (P. 136)
Women make babies. That's all.
Women have no choices.
I have seen, more than once, Handmaid's Tale used against anti-abortionist pro-lifers. Especially in political cartoons, and women dressed in red "handmaid" outfits at protests. The presence of women dressed in these outfits supposedly adds weight to the abortionist reasoning. It's done to make some point, which is what?
It goes like this.
1. Those opposed to allowing women to kill their babies are totalitarian, oppressive theocrats, just like the dystopia depicted in The Handmaid's Tale.
2. Therefore, women should resist the evil theocrats and abort their babies, if they so desire.
But surely we do not live in a dystopian, theocratic culture like that depicted in Handmaid's Tale. The idea that those of us who oppose killing defenseless, vulnerable, innocent inborn persons view women as nothing more than incubators is absurd. Which shows how far from rationality and reality this abortionist position has gone.