Margaret Atwood has slammed the potential overturning of Roe V. Wade – the landmark legal decision that made abortion legal across the United States in 1973.
After a leaked draft opinion in Politico revealed the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a change in the law, Atwood, whose most famous work centres on an oppressive and dystopian future where handmaids are forced to bear children for their assigned commanders, made her feelings clear.
The Guardian posted an excerpt of her recently published book of essays Burning Questions, in which she states, “Enforced childbirth is slavery”.
The piece, re-published for the outlet over the weekend, continues: “Women who cannot make their own decisions about whether or not to have babies are enslaved because the state claims ownership of their bodies and the right to dictate the use to which their bodies must be put… The only similar circumstance for men is conscription into an army.
“We say that women ‘give birth.’ And mothers who have chosen to be mothers do give birth, and feel it as a gift. But if they have not chosen, birth is not a gift they give; it is an extortion from them against their wills.”
The author and women’s rights activist has also spoken out on Twitter, replying to a fan post reading, “Could you please let SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) know The Handmaid’s Tale was not meant to be used as an instruction book?” which referenced the novel’s themes of forced childbirth.
“Too late for that,” she wrote.