The Handmaid's Tale

May 17, 2006

Does anyone else remember Margret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale? It wasn’t one of her best by any stretch of the imagination, but it was chilling in its futuristic portrayal of where attempts to control a woman’s body could lead a (our) society. Well, I just read this on Atrios (who, in turn, lifted it from Salon):
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves — and to be treated by the health care system — as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

Me again: This goes way beyond the issues of pro-choice vs. anti-abortion. And it surely represents a step in the handmaid’s direction. Will we someday be held accountable if we don’t force folic acid down our 14-year-old’s throat at breakfast?