The shocking overturning of the Roe v Wade legislation by the Supreme Court – which granted every woman in the US the right to have an abortion – has sparked sobering comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale.
On Friday (24 June), the Supreme Court ruled that millions of people in the US will now lose the legal right to obtain an abortion, overturning the 1973 legislation that granted women the right to abort up until foetal viability. This is usually around 24 weeks.
Individual states will now be able to decide to ban the procedure, and at least 26 states are expected to ban abortion following the supreme court ruling.
Fans of the dystopian Margaret Atwood novel and the critically acclaimed TV adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss expressed their sorrow after the ruling was announced, and warned that the country was heading for a perilous future.
Both the series and the novel are set in the totalitarian republic of Gilead, run by a dictatorship in which the lives of women, known as handmaids, are confined to household roles and used as baby-making machines, with no control over their own bodies.
Remember when you watched The Handmaid's Tale horrified, but comforted in knowing it was fiction? Those were the days. #SCOTUS— Terry Cluse-Tolar, she/her (@swkterry) June 24, 2022
We are living in the beginning of Handmaid’s tale. Women can’t have control over their own bodies. Republicans take us backwards and it is a flagrant disregard for precedent by the Supreme Shackles.— Susan H. (@SusanH63609698) June 24, 2022
Welcome to the start of the Handmaid’s tale.— 🍓 (@strawbz_wine) June 24, 2022
"Welcome to the start of the Handmaid’s Tale," one Twitter user said in response to the ruling.
"We are living in the beginning of Handmaid’s tale," another shared on Twitter. "Women can’t have control over their own bodies. Republicans take us backwards and it is a flagrant disregard for precedent by the Supreme Shackles."
One woman shared: "Remember when you watched The Handmaid's Tale horrified, but comforted in knowing it was fiction? Those were the days. #SCOTUS".
A Handmaid's Tale fan warned: "The Supreme Court has just overturned Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Women have now completely lost the right to bodily autonomy now legally regarding us as merely ‘birthing livestock’ to produce a 'domestic supply of babies'. Welcome to Gilead."
Someone else quipped: "Gun owners have more rights than women do on their own bodies. Welcome to Gilead."
Meanwhile, another Twitter user wrote: "God. That is so awful… the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. America is becoming Gilead."
A draft opinion was leaked on Roe v Wade in May, which suggested that the Supreme Court would vote in favour of overturning the legislation.
Abortion access is expected to be reduced for around 36 million women of reproductive age, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare clinic which carries out medical terminations.
The Supreme Court was previously considering a case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenged the ban in Mississippi on obtaining abortions after 15 weeks.
However, the court instead ruled in favour of the state, which effectively ended the constitutional right to an abortion.