Why These Irish Women Staged A Protest Dressed In A Handmaid’s Tale Costumes

By Natalie Gil

Ending an unwanted pregnancy is banned in Ireland in virtually all circumstances — an oppressive, draconian law and infringement of women’s reproductive rights which has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale.

So, it was fitting that pro-choice campaigners channeled handmaids in a protest in Dublin on Wednesday. Women, clothed in the famous white bonnets and red cloaks, stood outside the Dáil, the country’s parliament, as lawmakers met to discuss the Eighth Amendment, which bars abortion.

Pro-choice Repeal the Eighth campaigners are calling for a referendum on this part of the country’s constitution, which equates “the right to life of the unborn” with the mother’s right to life. Abortion is only legal if it is performed as a result of a medical intervention to save the mother’s life.

ROSA, the group for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity, staged the action. Protestor Una Reynolds told Breaking News Ireland: “We want pro-choice, proper legislation that will bring us compliant in human rights law along with all other countries.”

Very apt Handmaids Tale protest outside Leinster House #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/vxGxmU0NVZ

— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) September 20, 2017

The handmaids are revolting. #repealthe8th @RosaWomen pic.twitter.com/bPMyRNPpzG

— Paul Murphy (@paulmurphy_TD) September 20, 2017

The Dogmaid’s Tale #RepealThe8th pic.twitter.com/uwG87TfOKM

— DogsForChoice (@DogsForChoice) September 20, 2017

One Twitter user alleged that rival anti-choice protestors had retaliated by using rosary beads as weapons against the pro-choice campaigners.

Anti choicers retaliated to the Handmaidens by using rosary beads as weapons. (Not kidding).#repealthe8th ✊✊ https://t.co/koVbO6X13C

— Taryn De Vere (@TarynDeVere) September 20, 2017

Pro-choice campaigners across the U.S. — Ohio, Texas, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, and elsewhere — have staged similar demonstrations inspired by Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel to highlight and stand against violations on their reproductive and civil rights.

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