Blog for Choice Day 2012: Avoiding The Handmaid’s Tale

How better to participate in NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day on a book blog than to make a post referencing The Handmaid’s Tale?

I love dystopian literature, and as a high school student, The Handmaid’s Tale was my introduction to that genre.  Since then, I’ve read it several times, recommended it to dozens of people, and had one of the most powerful lines from the book tattooed on my arm.  It means, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

We’re coming up on another big election this year, and we could stand to keep that tough, feminist saying in mind as we work toward electing candidates who will respect reproductive freedom and abortion rights.  There will always be Ricks, Mitts, and Newts slavering at the chance to tear down Roe v. Wade, but we don’t have to put up with their misogyny.

In The Handmaid’s Tale, we see what has become of a society in which abortion is outlawed, sterility is rampant, and fertile women are used to incubate babies for wealthy couples.  We would do well to remember that we are only a few short steps away from the same state here in America.  Our reproductive rights are in jeopardy, thanks to anti-choice politicians and the voters who allow them to take office.  Infertility is an increasing problem, and the adoption industry already takes great delight in coercing healthy young women women to surrender their infants.  If we aren’t careful, it won’t be long before we create our very own Republic of Gilead.

NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day question is:  What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?  In other words, what will you do to protect American women from becoming handmaids?

I donate financially when I can afford to do so.  I keep up with NARAL and Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List online so that I can participate in letter-writing campaigns and events.  When the time comes, I’ll make phone calls on behalf of my local candidates.  And I always, always make a point to talk about my own abortion.  There’s no better way to put reproductive freedom into perspective for your friends and family than to be an example of a real woman whose life was improved because she had access to a safe, legal abortion when she needed one!

There’s a tremendous stigma still attached to abortion in the United States.  Sharing our positive experiences is one of the best ways to help overcome that stigma, demonstrating that abortion is not something “other” women choose. It’s something that doctors and teachers and lawyers and businesswomen choose.  It’s something that Catholics and Protestants and Mormons and Atheists choose.  It’s something that your aunt or your sister or your friend might choose, and something your mother may have chosen as well.

If you’ve had a positive experience with abortion – talk about it!  There’s no need to be shamed into silence.  Save the shame for those who would vote to deny a woman the right to her own body – let them suffer the embarrassment of their words and deeds.  But whatever you do this election year, don’t let the politicians grind you down!

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