Protesters with red cloaks and white bonnets akin to the characters of the renowned dystopian novel-turned-TV series "The Handmaid’s Tale" took to streets Wednesday in Argentina in favor of legalizing abortion.
Demonstrators marched towards the Congress building in the Argentine capital in silence with their heads bowed through the streets remnant of the scenes in Margaret Atwood's novel. The novel's inherent symbolism where women are enslaved and used for reproduction has touched millions of women across the world who have taken to streets in different countries to protest against patriarchy and anti-abortion laws.
Earlier this month, Atwood, the author of the "Handmaid's Tale" showed her support for the efforts led by Argentine feminist groups.
In a letter, Atwood noted, "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?"
Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, also 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 August 8. President Mauricio Macri has said that even though he remains opposed to abortion, he would not veto the bill if passed.
Earlier this year, Atwood clashed publicly with Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti, who said 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. 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 will be put to vote by the Senate on Aug. 8.
According to a 2016 report by Argentina’s health ministry, an estimated 370,000 to 522,000 Argentine women undergo illegal abortions each year with thousands being hospitalized for complications, which is also a leading cause of maternal death in the country.