Roe vs Wade has been overturned in the US, putting millions of women at risk of losing their right to safe and legal abortions, and some people have likened the situation to a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel.

On June 24 the nationwide right to abortion was ended in the US after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark decision.

woman in yellow shirt holding white paper
Photo by Umid Akbarov on Atwood wrote in magazine ‘The Atlantic’: ‘Although I eventually completed this novel and called it ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, I stopped writing it several times, because I considered it too far-fetched. Silly me.’

Famously, on many UK school syllabuses, the first thing you learn about The Handmaid’s Tale is that nothing in the novel stems from falsified events. Everything that happens in Gilead is based on real-life case studies. So, what else did Atwood’s novel ‘prove right’?

Book Burnings

The move towards a ‘theocratic dictatorship’ as Atwood phrases it, is leaping ever closer. As in her own dystopian novel and George Orwell’s ‘1984’, this move must start with changing the narrative. Books are burned, words are changed, and in modern society, ‘fake news’ is rife.

In Nazi-led Germany, books with ideologies opposing Nazism were burned. Without the internet, books were a key source of information and communication. So, without the books, the narrative could be changed to suit the Nazi party.

Recently, Atwood released an ‘unburnable’ copy of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in protest of the increasing censorship of texts in American schools and colleges.

black and white labeled book
Photo by Brendan Stephens on Environmental Disasters

Spills, wars and climate change all have their part to play in the calculated hysteria that builds the society of Gilead.

With regular oil spills decimating aquatic life, the continued Russian attack on Ukraine, and the Jacobabad climate/stillbirth crisis, the consequences of these events are hardly surprising. And yet, the Western world’s governments continue to be surprised and continue to bury their heads.

white clouds over city buildings during daytime
Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on