The Handmaid’s Tale: Dystopian Fiction or a Blueprint for the Future?

Photo: Fiona

When Hulu announced Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale was being adapted for a TV series, so many people involved refused to call it a feminist story — even though the entire plot centers on a society that has stripped every right away from women. The book’s female characters are forced to take the name of the man who possesses them, changing it as they are passed between men. Their worth is based solely on their ability to produce children, having been turned into “hosts,” or breeding units for the elite. And if you think that terminology originated in Atwood’s head, you’d be wrong — that term wasn’t from the book or show. It was from Rep. Justin Humphrey of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, just last February.


If they can take away our agency over our bodies, the rest doesn’t matter.


Ms. Atwood has stated that nothing in the book is new. Every degradation, every dehumanization is something that has happened, or is currently happening, to women somewhere in the world. And many people were quick to point to the parallels between the dystopian society painted by Atwood decades ago and the vision of a society idealized by many of our most conservative lawmakers.

Case in point: The Republican Administration recently signed an executive order allowing states to deny funding to Planned Parenthood, which will make it difficult for many low-income women to access contraception — an invaluable tool in asserting control over one’s fertility and destiny. (Vice President Pence should have known better; after all, his home state of Indiana is still fighting one of the worst outbreaks of HIV in decades, which was caused in part by defunding a major provider of HIV testing and treatment.) And attacks on access to contraception are just the tip of the iceberg.

But still, this was not really something I was going to write about, until late last month when I was listening to NPR. They talked to a young woman who stated that if Planned Parenthood would “just stop giving abortions,” then they could keep their funding. Although she liked the health care that Planned Parenthood provided, she wondered, “at what cost?

I am going to tell you the cost of not having access to the services Planned Parenthood provides — including contraception, screening for domestic violence, and, yes, abortion. Continue reading

Mike Pence’s America

mike-penceSince the election of Donald Trump in November, countless people have reveled in the hope that perhaps some obscure constitutional gambit or criminal indictment would take place preventing him from taking office on January 20.


Mike Pence’s legislative record stands in opposition to his self-proclaimed reverence for life.


The sentiment is understandable to those of us who abhor this man and all that he stands for, but such a scenario would present an awful alternative in the form of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who would take Trump’s place in the Oval Office as our new president.

While Trump has spoken about his frightening and detestable political views, he has no legislative record to back them up. Former congressman and current Indiana governor, Mike Pence, however, has a lengthy one.

And it is positively horrifying. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • ribbonsThe imbeciles in the state of Kentucky are trying to say that a ban on gay marriage isn’t discriminatory because it bars both gay and straight people from same-sex unions. To me, this is akin to saying you’re going to ban breastfeeding in public places, but you’re going to ban both men and women from breastfeeding, and thus, it’s not discrimination against women! See, magical thinking! No logic necessary!! (ABC News)
  • Arizona Republicans are such big fans of lying that they’ve passed a law that requires doctors to lie to women about abortions being reversible. (The Guardian)
  • Tampons may one day help detect endometrial cancer. (Smithsonian Mag)
  • Why settle for No. 3 when you can strive for No. 1? Apparently, Texas isn’t satisfied having *only* the third highest HIV infection rate in the country, so they’ve cut funding for HIV screenings in favor of abstinence education. Makes all the sense in the world, doesn’t it? #CompassionateConservatism (RH Reality Check)
  • Looks like the fate of Texas will soon be very similar to that of Scott County, Indiana. Planned Parenthood was the county’s sole provider of HIV testing, but the state cut funding and several clinics were forced to close. They’re now suffering an HIV outbreak that its governor has called “an epidemic.” (HuffPo)
  • Speaking of Indiana, their ”religious freedom” bill caused a huge ruckus this week. But instead of just repealing the stupid thing, they’ve “revised it” to ban businesses from denying services to people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. (IndyStar)
  • Wow, so Indiana just keeps on delivering the worst of the worst, don’t they? Purvi Patel has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and “neglect of a dependent” for having a miscarriage that may have been caused by an abortion pill. She’s not the first woman to face such charges, and these predatory, intrusive laws pretty much guarantee she won’t be the last. (MSNBC)
  • We often hear about what miscarriages cost women emotionally, but what about the financial cost? It’s pretty steep. One woman’s miscarriage cost her tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. (Slate)
  • Maryland has opened an abortion clinic that’s being compared to a “spa.” Naturally, women being able to receive kindness and comfort while undergoing a completely legal medical procedure has some people outraged. (WaPo)
  • The Navajo Nation is being referred to as a “condom desert.” (Al Jazeera America)
  • Hard to express how heartbreaking a read this last piece is — women in abusive relationships suffer in ways many people just can’t fully grasp. They are more likely to contract HIV and less likely to use birth control. And when they do use birth control, it often has to be done via “secret” methods. (Jezebel)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Photo by Dave Bledsoe, made available under Creative Commons license.

    In a new push for the medically unnecessary and imbecilic concept of “personhood,” Arizona anti-choicers are pushing a bill to track every embryo ever. (RH Reality Check)
  • Asinine Arkansas just passed a bill outlawing abortions at 12 weeks — the most extreme abortion ban in the country. (CRR)
  • In case you weren’t aware, abortion providers risk their lives and property in the name of choice. (Truth-out)
  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable. (NYT)
  • Guess what, anti-choicers? Better Prenatal Testing Does Not Mean More Abortion. So get a friggen clue already. (The Atlantic)
  • In a thought-provoking piece, clinic workers answer tough questions on abortion. (Tres Sugar)
  • Surprisingly, German Bishops OK Contraception in Rape Cases (ABC News)
  • Two ultrasound bills are making their way through the Indiana legislature. And they both suck. (HuffPo)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Woman Sues Over Ex-Boyfriend’s Heinous Miscarriage Billboard. Ugh. (Jezebel)
  • Apparently, Americans are sick and freaking tired of Congress’s obsession with restricting abortion. Nice sentiment but they should have thought about that before electing these clowns into office. (Politico)
  • Abortion “showdown” could cost Indiana $4.3 billion. And it’s a “showdown” they ain’t gonna win anyway. So move on already Hoosier State. (AP)
  • Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Ban Abortions at Publicly Funded Clinics, Hospitals. No word yet on whether there will be exceptions based on the life and health of the mother but if you remember the debacle at St. Joseph’s in Phoenix a while back, it’s probably safe to assume there won’t be any exceptions. (RH Reality Check)
  • Ovarian cancer screening doesn’t actually save lives? Someone should probably alert the medical field about that. (MSNBC)
  • Remember those anti-choice billboards targeting blacks stating “The Most Dangerous Place For an African American Is The Womb”? Well, now Latinos are the target. Wonder if white women will be next? Something tells me no. (The Daily Caller)
  • The Pill does not cause weight gain. However, food, in large quantities without adequate exercise, does. (EurekAlert)
  • The CDC estimates that 20% of people infected with HIV don’t know it and one-third are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. This is why it’s so important to be tested regularly! (USA Today)
  • When in Doubt About Sexual Health, Teens Turn to Google. Not their parents, Google! (HuffPo)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • If you hadn’t noticed, the fight for control over women’s bodies is more contentious than ever. (NYT)
  • In taking a dig at Romney’s health care mandate in Massachusetts, our soon-to-be fellow Arizona resident Sarah Palin claims she doesn’t care for “any level of government telling us what to do” with regard to health mandates. That’s actually really funny coming from someone who wants the government to legislate what happens inside my uterus. (MSNBC)
  • Craptacular “Personhood” bills have far reaching consequences that, if passed, mean the terrorists have won. The terrorists who want to force you to give birth, that is. (Jezebel)
  • What’s good for the goose: The Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tells Indiana that if they go through with their sinister plan to defund Planned Parenthood, THEY will lose all federal funding for their Medicaid program. Sorry, Indiana — #YouGotServed (Politico)
  • The Foxx Amendment: Without Providers There Is No Choice (RH Reality Check)
  • Radical new birth control for men that’s 100% effective? COME ON WITH IT ALREADY! (Wired)
  • Controversial AIDS cure continues to spur hope (MSNBC)
  • The Feds continue to put the smackdown on those who dare to violate the FACE Act — ’cause after all, they are ♪”Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law”♪ (Denver Post)