‘Handmaid’s Tale’ march for Argentine abortion rights

July 25, 2018
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Pro-choice activists in favor of decriminalizing abortion wear costumes from the Handmaid's Tale, a book and now television series, outside Congress where lawmakers passed new, abortion-related legislation which is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. The novel's writer, Margaret Atwood, showed her support on Twitter for approval of the law, which would legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Dozens of demonstrators wearing red cloaks and white bonnets like the characters from the novel-turned-TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” demonstrated Wednesday in Argentina in favor of legalizing abortion.

The demonstrators marched in silence with their heads bowed through the streets of the Argentine capital until they reached the Congress building. Under a heavy rain, one of them read a letter by “Handmaid’s Tale” author Margaret Atwood, who supports the effort led by Argentine feminist groups.

“Nobody likes abortion, even when safe and legal. It’s not what any woman would choose for a happy time on Saturday night. But nobody likes women bleeding to death on the bathroom floor from illegal abortions, either. What to do?” the Canadian author wrote in the letter.

Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, recently approved a bill that would legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The measure is to be voted on by the Senate on Aug. 8. President Mauricio Macri has said that even though he remains opposed to abortion, he would not veto the bill if passed.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” portrays a future in which women’s rights have been stripped away. The Hulu series has 20 Emmy nominations in 2018.

Earlier this year, Atwood clashed publicly with Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti, who has said that she is anti-abortion.

“Don’t look away from the thousands of deaths every year from illegal abortions. Give Argentine women the right to choose!” Atwood told Michetti on Twitter.

Argentina now allows abortion only in cases of rape or risks to a woman’s health. But advocates say doctors and judges often block women from carrying them out.

A 2016 report by Argentina’s health ministry estimated that between 370,000 to 522,000 Argentine women undergo illegal abortions each year and thousands are hospitalized for complications. It is the main cause of maternal death.

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