'Handmaid's Tale' star: 'We're a heck of a lot closer' to Gilead 'than we were in season one'

A star of "The Handmaid's Tale" said Sunday that the U.S. is a "heck of a lot closer" to the fictional dystopian nation of Gilead than it was during the filming of season one. 

"Which is terrifying," actress Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia, added during a discussion with host Brian Stelter on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

"When I saw what's going on in Georgia I literally thought this can't be real," Dowd said. "It stunned me to the degree of what's going on in the anti-abortion world." 


"It's a very, very slippery slope to Gilead," the show's executive producer, Warren Littlefield, added. 

With abortion bans passing across more and more Republican-controlled state legislatures, many have drawn parallels to "The Handmaid's Tale," a dystopian series on Hulu based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel in which women have virtually no sovereignty over their bodies. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a ban virtually eliminating all access to abortion in May. The legislation bans abortion once a fetus has detectable heartbeat, which typically occurs within six weeks, before most women know they are pregnant. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a similar far-reaching abortion ban last week.

Such bans are now signed into law in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama and Missouri. 

These laws are being challenged in court by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood. 


"It is unconscionable and not just because no one, including middle-class and upper-class old white men have the right to choose for a woman, no one does," Dowd said on CNN. 

These laws would hurt the poor and marginalized who cannot support children they are forced to carry, she added. 

"Who has the right to make that decision for anyone? We are all pro-life, but there is a difference between pro-life and pro-birth. Pro-life means you take responsibility for all of those children in this world who are suffering," she said.

Entertainment companies, including Disney, Netflix and WarnerMedia said they may stop filming in Georgia if the restrictive law takes effect. 

"The Handmaid's Tale," now in its third season, films mainly in Canada, but Littlefield said he "would not go near there" to film. 

Littlefield added that he thinks the boycotts send an effective message to states.