It’s a difficult time for dystopian fiction. What once offered an ominous, peculiar sense of escapism into another world, a vague warning that if we don’t change, this is our future, is now more difficult to stomach. Dystopian fiction has become a little too close to real life to enjoy, the warnings too necessary, too timely.
If anyone understands the thin line between fiction and reality, it is Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The Hulu adaptation of the novel has been called “a wake-up call for women,” a “timely adaptation,” and about a thousand words synonymous with eerie: unnerving, chilling, take your pick.
Atwood does, of course, see her novel as fiction — but she isn’t exactly happy with the current state of affairs in America, either. On Saturday, the acclaimed author spoke about anti-abortion legislature, referring to it as a “form of slavery” for women.
Atwood, speaking to a crowd at BookCon in New York City, spoke in answer to a man who asked her where we go from here considering it’s “virtually impossible” to get an abortion in Texas. (He’s not wrong: Texas has some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country, Refinery29 reports, and a bill is on the table that would require fetal remains to be buried or cremated.)
In response, Atwood said that anti-choice lawmakers are killing women and orphaning children with their laws.
“Who is going to pay for the orphans and the dead women? Because that’s what you’re going to have. And I’m waiting for the first lawsuit. I’m waiting, you know, in which the family of the dead woman sues the state…And I’m also waiting for a lawsuit that says if you force me to have children I cannot afford, you should pay for the whole process. They should pay for my prenatal care. They should pay for my, otherwise, very expensive delivery. You should pay for my health insurance. You should pay for the upkeep of this child after it is born. That’s where the concern seems to cut off with these people. Once you take your first breath, [it’s] out the window with you. And, it is really a form of slavery to force women to have children that they cannot afford and then to say that they have to raise them.”
Doesn’t sound too far off from Gilead, after all.
Watch the full panel in the video below.