We cannot allow ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to become reality TV

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Welcome to Gilead! I am referring to the fictitious country depicted in the dystopian novel-turned-miniseries, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” where women become subservient to men — especially when it comes to women’s reproductive activities — and men control everything they say and do.

The bill passed by Alabama’s legislature on Tuesday, criminalizing abortion and severely punishing the participating doctors, gives us a glimpse of how a Gilead could come to be.  

{mosads}The Alabama bill is the most restrictive bill that has passed a state legislature. It strips women of their constitutional freedom, upheld by Roe V. Wade for the past 40 years, to make decisions in the privacy of their homes or doctors’ offices and to carry out an abortion, if that is what a woman believes will be best for her family and her health.  

But it is part of an overall movement across conservative legislatures to approve so-called “heartbeat” laws that would highly restrict abortion access.  

The law passed in Alabama is essentially a total abortion ban that calls for prosecuting doctors and putting them in prison for up to 99 years for conducting an abortion.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation that bans abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy and before many women even know they are pregnant.

This bill would enable the prosecution of doctors who perform abortions and could enable investigations of women who have miscarriages.

After passing its own heartbeat bill, legislation is now being considered in Ohio that would put politicians between a woman and her doctor in potentially life-threatening situations. Texas considered a bill that would threaten women with the death penalty if they had an abortion.

In all, almost 30 bans on abortion have been introduced, passed or signed into law in state legislatures across the country this year alone.

While scary and threatening, it hopefully will serve as a wake-up call to those who have been reluctant to think President Trump and Republicans would go this far. These moves shouldn’t be a surprise. Trump was very clear during the campaign that he would appoint judges willing to overturn Roe v. Wade.

He has done just that, and now extremists in many states are legislating brutal laws that take away the constitutional freedoms of women at the state level, so they can appeal to federal courts and then the Supreme Court.

They seek to overturn settled Supreme Court law and endanger the lives of women, children and the safety of our families in the process.  

We cannot stand for any of it. In fact, the tenacious overreach of these conservative state legislatures could very well backfire politically for Republicans.

Roughly 7-in-10 Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. Majorities of Americans want abortion to continue to be legal, especially in cases of rape and incest (the Alabama law allows for neither) and in cases where the life of the mother is endangered.  

It is worth pointing out that the Republican stance on abortion has always highlighted a fundamental hypocrisy that the party cannot explain and that makes no sense — other than that they are willing to sacrifice their conservative values on the altar of political expediency and fake religiosity.  

Let’s take the Alabama case as an example. How can the party that calls itself “pro-life” write such an extreme law that puts women and young girls in danger?

If abortion is outlawed, it will not just magically go away; once again, it will be relegated to medical charlatans with filthy tools performing the procedures, and countless women and girls may die.  

How can a party that calls itself “pro-life” prioritize passing an unconstitutional law in a state where women die at some of the highest national rates of cervical cancer? Where the infant mortality rate is one of the nation’s worst? A state that ranks 46th in health-care quality? Shouldn’t these serious life-threatening problems be the priority for so-called pro-lifers?    

How can a party that prides itself on the tenet of “small government,” and wanting to take government out of our lives, nevertheless sign a bill into law that puts government — or, more accurately, mostly male politicians — in the uteruses of America’s women?

Well, we say, “Get the hell out!” Male politicians will not tell us how to live our lives or what to do with our bodies. Those decisions should be rightly made between women, their families and their caregivers, without fear of persecution, prosecution or jail.  

Anti-choice Republicans have been working meticulously for 40 years to destroy Roe v. Wade in whatever way they can, to outlaw abortion and punish women. Trump even said that he believed women who get abortions deserve punishment, before backtracking. 

{mossecondads}To the GOP, the end justifies the means. Even if that means waging a desperate, massive disinformation campaign built on lies and fake news about Democrats who defend Americans’ reproductive rights.

Make no mistake, America. We must continue to defend Roe v. Wade and the rights it gives women, their families and our communities to live full, prosperous, healthy lives.  

If we don’t fight against this extreme wave of radical anti-choice legislation, our worst imagination could conceivably become reality: a future where the corner conversation starts with, “Praise be,” and is followed by, “Under His eye,” and women will be wearing red flowing robes and white bonnets.

The choice is ours.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

Tags Abortion Abortion in the United States Abortion law Donald Trump Pro-choice movement Reproductive rights Roe v. Wade

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