Editor’s Note: We have had a few blogs that reference The Handmaid’s Tale since Season 1 of the Hulu series began in 2017, and one that did so several years ago which had a lively discussion in the comments. Here, Laura Purdy responds to a new law in Missouri that resulted from a special session called by Governor Eric Greitens for the purpose of addressing abortion legislation. It was in response to a St. Louis city ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination in housing or employment against people who had used birth control or had an abortion. The Governor began calling St. Louis an “abortion sanctuary city” and determined to prevent the city from preventing this kind of discrimination. Also up for debate in the MO legislature is a sweeping abortion bill which contains many other regulations and restrictions on abortion, passed the Missouri House on June 20, 2017, and now heads back to the Missouri Senate.
Once the mind gets going on something this absurd and horrible, it is hard to get it focused on anything else: “Had an abortion or use birth control? In Missouri, you could be disqualified from a job for that” (or housing). I present this in case anybody still thought that “theocracy,” “war on women,” or allusions to The Handmaid’s Tale were too extreme.
This is a quantum leap beyond anti-abortion politics in general and raises so many questions.
Broadly, and most obviously, since when is religious freedom limited to potential employers/landlords? (Not to mention moral principles . . . . )
More picky: what about HIPAA?
Since when do potential employers/landlords have access to one’s health care records*?
Does this mean new opportunities for those lesbians and nuns and other women who have never had need of contraception or abortion?
Or is this just an opening for more “religious freedom” in the form of required video cams (or smart TV’s) in women’s bedrooms?
Why beat around the bush with these petty incremental restrictions on women’s rights? Why not just come right out with it and repeal the 19th Amendment?
And finally, where’s Lysistrata when you need her; time for a babystrike?