Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Endorsed by Planned Parenthood: ‘A Terrifying Cautionary Tale’

“We must continue to resist attacks on our health and rights,” adds star Elisabeth Moss

Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” unflinchingly depicts a world in which the state strips away the rights of women and subjugates their bodies, something Planned Parenthood is known for opposing.

So it is that the organization released a statement Wednesday, coinciding with the premiere of the television adaptation on Hulu, praising the series as a way to advance the discussion of issues like sexual health and reproductive choice.

“Emotionally authentic portrayals of sexual and reproductive health issues on TV and in film are more important now than ever, as women’s health and rights are under constant attack from politicians,” said Caren Spruch, director of arts and entertainment engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Shows like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ can help educate people and spark meaningful conversations around these issues and policies.”

Planned Parenthood has come under increasing political attack for providing contraception and abortion services, and has been the subject of a sustained campaign to discredit and defund the organization. Most recently it was the subject of legislation giving individual states the ability to withhold funding for the organization.

Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood drew comparisons between those events and the world depicted in “Handmaid’s Tale.”

“As the nation’s leading provider and advocate of reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood has seen the dire consequences for women when politicians rely on ideology rather than medical expertise in an effort to undermine women’s health and block patients from going to Planned Parenthood for care.”

“The unfortunate reality is that in America today, more than half of women of reproductive age live in states where access to safe, legal abortion is being needlessly restricted by their state legislatures,” Planned Parenthood wrote.

Series star Elisabeth Moss — who plays main character Offred — also spoke out for the organization, saying in the statement that “this is an important story to tell in this political climate, and why we must continue to resist attacks on our health and rights.”

“I stand with Planned Parenthood because if it’s ‘defunded,’ millions of women and young people will lose access to care,” she concluded.

First published in 1985, “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place some time after a revolt by religious fundamentalists topples the United States and replaces it with a theocracy in which women are enslaved and forced to serve as surrogates for infertile couples among the ruling class. The Hulu series was created by Bruce Miller and stars Moss, alongside Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, and Alexis Bledel.

Read the full statement below:

Today the series The Handmaid’s Tale premieres on Hulu, a story that highlights what happens when politicians put extreme policies in place that override a woman’s ability to control her reproductive future. This updated adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book is a terrifying cautionary tale about a future without reproductive rights, including contraception and abortion, or LGBTQ rights.

“Emotionally authentic portrayals of sexual and reproductive health issues on TV and in film are more important now than ever, as women’s health and rights are under constant attack from politicians,” said Caren Spruch, director of arts and entertainment engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Shows like The Handmaid’s Tale can help educate people and spark meaningful conversations around these issues and policies. Now and in the future, health care decisions must be left between a woman and her doctor – not politicians. “

The unfortunate reality is that in America today, more than half of women of reproductive age live in states where access to safe, legal abortion is being needlessly restricted by their state legislatures. Since 2010, states have adopted more than 300 abortion restrictions – 30% of all abortion restrictions enacted since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

“The Handmaid’s Tale imagines a world where women have no rights, including reproductive rights,” said Elisabeth Moss, star of The Handmaid’s Tale. “This is an important story to tell in this political climate, and why we must continue to resist attacks on our health and rights. I stand with Planned Parenthood because if it’s ‘defunded,’ millions of women and young people will lose access to care.”

As the nation’s leading provider and advocate of reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood has seen the dire consequences for women when politicians rely on ideology rather than medical expertise in an effort to undermine women’s health and block patients from going to Planned Parenthood for care. In Texas, for example, women are traveling hundreds of miles just to seek care, delaying care, or going without it at all. These restrictions are part of a broader agenda to end access to safe, legal abortion.

“Planned Parenthood believes that reproductive rights are deeply connected to LGBTQ rights and is proud to be a provider for so many in the LGBTQ community,” Spruch added. “We have long stood with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the struggle for full equality — many of whom turn to Planned Parenthood for health care, information and education.”

The progress we’ve seen on LGBTQ rights in this country is rooted in principles that also underlie reproductive rights: that politicians should not decide what you do with your body or what your family looks like, and that rights should not depend on the state you live in. Although continuing to face oppression, LGBTQ communities are resilient, strong, and loving. Planned Parenthood is committed to making our country a place where no one experiences discrimination or violence because of their gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

At Planned Parenthood, we work every day to make sure people receive the high-quality health care they need in a safe, compassionate environment -including abortion – and trust every patient to make their own, fully informed sexual and reproductive health care decisions. The patients who come to Planned Parenthood don’t do so to make a political statement – they do it because they need the expert health care and information we provide. Last year, Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years, and we, alongside our millions of supporters, will fight to protect reproductive health and rights in this country.

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