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

Meet Our Candidates: Terry Goddard for Arizona Secretary of State

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Terry_Goddard 2014Terry Goddard is running for Arizona secretary of state — one of eight executive positions that are open during the 2014 general election. This seat is currently held by Ken Bennett, who is barred from running for re-election under Arizona’s term-limit restrictions. As attorney general under Gov. Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jan Brewer from 2003 to 2011, state director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1995 to 2002, and four-time mayor of Phoenix from 1983 to 1990, Mr. Goddard is no stranger to Arizona politics.

The secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of removal from office, and primarily serves as Arizona’s chief election official. In a time when states are actively working to mandate strict voter registration laws to disenfranchise voters under the guise of minimizing voter fraud, it is essential that Arizona elect a secretary of state who understands Arizona from the ground up. As secretary of state, Mr. Goddard will ensure that we all retain our right to vote for individuals who will serve on our behalf and protect our basic human rights.

Mr. Goddard was kind enough to talk to us on September 22, 2014.


“One of Arizona’s greatest strengths is our diversity. We should celebrate it, not demonize it.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am an Arizona native and ASU College of Law graduate. I am proud to have served on active duty in the U.S. Navy. I retired as a commander after 27 years in the Naval Reserve.

I was elected mayor of Phoenix four times, serving from 1983 to 1990. In those years, the city greatly increased citizen participation, expanded and modernized law enforcement, revitalized downtown, and set up nationally recognized programs in economic development, the arts, and historic preservation. During that time, we worked closely with Planned Parenthood to control potentially highly disruptive demonstrations at clinics and protect the rights of women patients. Continue reading