Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland issued an ominous warning of "Handmaid's Tale-type regulation" after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization will move to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that protects a pregnant woman's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Raskin noted Roe v. Wade hinged on the right to privacy and the erosion of that right, which is not explicitly outlined in the United States Constitution, "would appear to be an invitation to have Handmaid's Tale type anti-feminist regulation and legislation all over the country."
You can hear what Raskin said in the video below.
The Handmaid's Tale, a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, was written at the height of the Reagan administration and satirized political, social, and religious trends of the 1980s.
Raskin's remarks were rife with alarm, likening the death knell of abortion rights to the rise of a society like Gilead, the one depicted in the novel, in which women are forced to bear children against their will.
The Handmaid's Tale, published in 1985, was inspired at least in part by the islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. That overthrow of the Shah's rule saw a theocracy established that subjugated women in a strict patriarchal society, gutted female agency and individuality in addition to reproductive rights and limited all the other ways women can assert their independence.
The novel was adapted into an award-winning series by Hulu, which won actress Elisabeth Moss two Emmys in 2017 for acting in and producing it. A sequel novel,The Testaments, was released in September 2019. The Testaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and features the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.
Raskin noted the end of Roe v. Wade would signal the fall of rulings like Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which largely affirmed the precedent established by Roe, and Griswold v. Connecticut, which cites the right to privacy in safeguarding a woman's right to privacy in regard to contraception.
"[Roe falling] would apply presumably to the right to privacy in contraception and we know of course there is a right-wing war on contraception now."
"But if Casey is to fall, if Roe v. Wade is to fall, then Griswold v. Connecticut presumably is to fall as well because the words 'contraception' and 'birth control' don''t appear in the Constitution."
"Indeed the phrase 'right to privacy' doesn't appear in the Constitution so this would appear to be an invitation to have Handmaid's Tale-type anti-feminist regulation and legislation all over the country."
Raskin went on to add the leaked draft majority opinion "situates the trajectory of the American right," pointing to often inflammatory coverage from organizations like Fox News, which have served to make the reproductive rights debate one of the seminal debates of the ongoing culture wars.
He later took to Twitter to reiterate a remark he made on the air about Republicans planning to "usher in" an "illiberal democracy" in the style of the right-wing Hungarian populist Viktor Orban.
Many have echoed Raskin's concerns and have called on Democrats and allies to act.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the draft opinion is "authentic" but says "it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."
Chief Justice John Roberts said the leak signals a "betrayal of the confidences of the Court" but insisted while it was "intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed."