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Leslie Jones, ‘SNL’ take on Alabama’s abortion ban in season finale | TribLIVE.com
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Leslie Jones, ‘SNL’ take on Alabama’s abortion ban in season finale

The Washington Post
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NBC
Leslie Jones on “Saturday Night Live.”

Though the “Saturday Night Live” season finale opened with members of the Trump administration singing a corruption-themed parody of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” the episode’s most heated political moment arrived during the “Weekend Update” segment.

Cast member Leslie Jones rolled in wearing a red cloak and white bonnet recognizable to most by now as the attire of handmaids, or fertile women forced into childbearing enslavement from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” and its Hulu adaptation. The garment has become a symbol of resistance in recent years, employed in this specific instance to target Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, signed by the governor earlier this week.

“Well, basically, we’re all handmaids now,” Jones said, adding: “This is how it starts. I’m out living my life, and then I see on the news (that) a bunch of states are trying to ban abortion and tell me what I can and can’t do with my body.

“Next thing you know, I’m in Starbucks and they won’t take my credit card because I’m a woman – instead of the regular reason, which is, I don’t have no money on there.” (In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” women are also stripped of their financial independence.)

Only male Alabama senators voted on Tuesday to pass the country’s most restrictive abortion bill, which criminalizes the procedure in nearly all circumstances, including rape and incest. The audience booed as Jones, who had taken off her cloak to reveal a black T-shirt with the word “MINE” pointing toward her uterus, called attention to the senators’s gender after a grid of their faces appeared on screen.

“This look like the casting call of a Lipitor commercial,” she said. “This look like the mug shots of everyone arrested at a massage parlor … You can’t control women because I don’t know if y’all heard, but women are the same as humans.”

Though less direct, references to the abortion law popped up elsewhere in the episode as well. Kenan Thompson appeared in the musical cold open as Justice Clarence Thomas, alluding to how eight Republican-controlled states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah – have recently passed antiabortion bills in an attempt to challenge the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling: “We’ve got the votes now,” Thompson’s Thomas sang. “Women are screwed.”

In a sketch parodying “The View,” Jones’ Whoopi Goldberg announced, “This week, Alabama passed a near total ban on abortion. So we ‘bout to pop off.” Each of the women said their part, concluding with Meghan McCain, who was once again lampooned by Aidy Bryant for her oft-viral behavior on the talk show.

“OK, can I talk now?” she asked. “OK, I am the only daughter at this table. So I have to say, these senators are actually very good and fun guys, so I am sending love to Clyde Chambliss, Shay Shelnutt and Garlan Gudger. And those are real names, OK?”

During her “Weekend Update” appearance, Jones criticized women – including Alabama’s first female Republican governor, Kay Ivey, who signed the antiabortion bill – for “going along with this.”

The fact that eight states are doing this means “this really is a war on women,” Jones concluded. “And if you’re a woman out there and you feel scared or confused, just know that you’re not alone. There are so many women out there who’ve got your back.”

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