The cast of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is speaking out against the passage of abortion restrictions in several states, warning that if the crackdown continues, the U.S. government could look more like the fictional Republic of Gilead.
In a public service announcement filmed with Planned Parenthood and Harper’s Bazaar, the Hulu series’ stars ― Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Ann Dowd, Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Max Minghella and Bradley Whitford ― deliver a powerful reminder that the nation’s public health crisis is real.
“This is not Gilead,” the PSA released Wednesday says. “This is not ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ This is not a book. This is not a TV show. This is America. This is our reality.”
Earlier this year, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio approved bans on abortions once cardiac activity in an embryo is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks, before many women are aware they’re pregnant.
Each of the bills has been signed into law, though a Kentucky judge blocked the state’s ban in March, finding it potentially unconstitutional.
In May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law the country’s most restrictive anti-abortion legislation ― a near-total ban on the procedure, with the only exception being when the life of the mother is at stake.
The actors condemned the restrictions as an “attack” on reproductive care.
“Denying access to safe, legal abortion care is dangerous and deadly,” the actors say. “Banning abortion is not going to stop abortion. Banning abortions will only stop safe, legal abortions.”
Six states have become virtual abortion “deserts” ― Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia ― each having only one clinic providing safe, legal abortions.
“When we start restricting access to abortion, our country takes one step closer to Gilead,” the PSA cautioned.
In the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s futuristic novel of the name title, fertile women are forced into sexual slavery and valued only for their ability to reproduce.
Last month, Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia, an authoritarian figure who oversees the so-called handmaids, lambasted the abortion restrictions as “disgusting” during a Newsweek interview.
“The drama and the sensationalizing from the point of view of the people who want to pass these bills is appalling,” she said. “I’m enraged about how the situation is being portrayed.”
To anyone “dying to shut down women’s rights,” Dowd suggested they “go to church and ask for forgiveness.”