Women's reproductive rights

The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a future dystopian society ruled over by the authoritarian regime of Gilead. The extreme rules of the society are based on Christian teachings, in particular the Old Testament. The leaders of Gilead claim that they are doing God’s work. 

This is a patriarchal society, in which men are privileged and women are denied almost all power. Women are reduced to specific roles, such as “Wife” or “Handmaid”, and forced to obey men. 

Gilead society is struggling with a plummeting birth rate due to a combination of factors. This is used as an excuse to treat women’s fertility as a “national resource” (Chapter 12, 63%). Gilead society has come up with a system in which young fertile women whose marriages or relationships are consid...

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