A Response to Georgia’s HB481

Set in a future where religion and fanatics run day-to-day life, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 The Handmaid’s Tale begins with: 

We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semi-darkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths. In this way, we exchanged names, from bed to bed… (14)

It’s too late for the women in Atwood’s novel. They are forced to communicate in secret, are kept under guard, are forced to live in prison with no control over their bodies.

Georgia’s HB481 is a step towards Atwood’s world.

I stand with my wife.

I stand with Georgia health care providers.

Criminalizing health care is a step in the wrong direction.

Ten years ago, I believed that America had an abortion problem. The numbers are staggering. I don’t now that I’ve seen what people go through at an abortion clinic: the harassment, the shame, the pain. We should support and aid families in the awful moment of abortion, not demonize them.

My wife and I are so shocked and disturbed by HB481, that we’ve discussed whether to move out of the state. At first, the conversation struck me as ridiculous, but the more I read about the national movement against women’s rights, I’m not so sure. Other states are adopting similar bills that criminalize abortions. Where would we go? Will we end up shuffling states as the bans spread?

I will not watch my wife live in fear. I’ve never voted before, but that is going to change in the next Georgia elections. I encourage you vote pro choice wherever you live.

Atwood’s narrator remembers a time gone, a time that had freedoms, a time when women had choices—that time of possibilities is right now, but I fear it is in jeopardy.