Internet responds to GOP health care vote with Handmaid's Tale references
On Thursday, House Republicans voted to pass a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) and replace it with the new American Health Care Act (AHCA). Though the legislation still must pass in the Senate before it can become law, the House vote led Twitter users to draw parallels between the bill and the popular Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale.
If passed, the AHCA would potentially classify rape, pregnancy, C-sections, postpartum depression, and surviving domestic violence as pre-existing conditions, making women more at risk for being denied coverage or charged higher premiums.
The Hulu series, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, depicts a civilization called Gilead, a near-future autocratic theocracy that has replaced the United States. Run by religious fundamentalists, Gilead is a world where women have been stripped of their rights (they cannot open bank accounts, hold jobs, or earn wages), and most women have become infertile. The few remaining fertile women are turned into handmaids who are forced to bear children for the ruling class.
Opponents of the AHCA seized upon the Hulu series as a way to express their feelings about the bill, sharing images referencing Gilead on Twitter. Here’s a sampling:
Even before its premiere, the show, which has recently been renewed for a second season, was cited as a particularly resonant tale in today’s political climate. Star Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) previously told Entertainment Weekly Radio that the show was very personal to her for those reasons, saying, “When you look around and you see things like women’s reproductive rights being infringed upon, like the right to protest, journalists’ access, truth in journalism; when you see these things being infringed upon and rights being creepily, slowly stripped away — that’s the time before Gilead. It’s important that we all do look up from our phones and take notice.”