Social media users are comparing leaked documents claiming that Roe v Wade will be overturned in the US to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
On Monday (2 May) night, a draft of a US Supreme Court opinion leaked, showing a majority of five justices have decided to allow states to outlaw abortion by overruling the landmark cases of Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it reads. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives”.
As the news broke, Atwood’s book began trending on Twitter as social media users pointed out similarities between the dystopian republic of Gilead, where women are forced to bear children, and the modern day.
Activist Amy Siskind tweeted: “Leaked draft Supreme Court decision would overturn Roe. Gawd help us [if] this is true. Handmaid’s Tale in 2022!”
Actor Seth MacFarlane wrote: “As the staggeringly partisan, right wing-dominated SCOTUS nudges America closer to Handmaid’s Tale status, the importance of voting in EVERY election becomes even more obvious. One would hope today’s news erases any further delusions that “both parties are pretty much the same.”
“Tonight, Hulu is reclassifyin’ The Handmaid’s Tale as a documentary,” another tweet read.
One Twitter user wrote: “A woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body isn’t up to misogynistic Republicans. Codify Roe v Wade, say f*** no to Handmaid’s Tale.”
Another tweeted: “Dear SCOTUS: The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction not an instruction manual. -Sincerely, women everywhere,” adding the hashtag: “#MyBodyMyChoice.”
The symbol of the Handmaid seen in Atwood’s book and the corresponding TV series has become a symbol in pro-choice protests across the world.
While fans of Atwood’s book have previously claimed that she predicted the future when writing The Handmaid’s Tale in 1984, the author has said that the components of the world of Gilead had already existed in Western society at the time.
“I made a rule for myself: I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist,” she said.
“I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behaviour.”
Atwood continued: “The group-activated hangings, the tearing apart of human beings, the clothing specific to castes and classes, the forced childbearing and the appropriation of the result… all had precedents, and many of these were to be found, not in other cultures and religions, but within Western society, and within the ‘Christian’ tradition itself.”
A number of celebrities, including George Takei and Alyssa Milano have spoken out against the reported decision.