Women in Handmaid's costume protest outside the Dail

Irish Women Dress as Handmaids to Protest Abortion Laws

Irish women dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s feminist dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale to protest Ireland’s strict abortion laws yesterday


Ireland, where there is still little separation between church and state, has some of the strictest laws regarding reproductive rights in the world, with women facing up to fourteen years in prison for going through with an abortion. Ireland has been condemned for their lack of action on this by both Amnesty International and the United Nations.


Advocates for the Repeal the Eighth movement dressed as the enslaved female characters of Atwood’s novel, which was recently adapted for television by Hulu. They stood as handmaids outside the Dáil (the Irish government buildings) as the first meeting of the Committee on the Eighth Amendment took place.



The eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, equates life from the moment of conception with the life of the pregnant person. The movement to repeal the eighth amendment has gained popularity and strength in the last several years, spurred by several high profile deaths which occurred as a result of the laws. The eighth amendment prevents abortion in virtually any circumstances, including rape, incest, or immediate health risk. It is estimated that twelve women a day travel to the UK and other European countries to access the healthcare they are denied at home. 



A referendum is expected in 2018 as recommended by a Citizens’ Assembly. 


Hulu’s hugely popular television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale has familiarized the public with the handmaid’s costume and women have been donning the recognizable white cap and red cape in protest of women’s rights violations around the world.


Featured Image Via ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Opression, Sexism and Austerity)