Last night, after giving an interview on CNN in which she declared herself “an active citizen, and part of the resistance,” Hillary Clinton evoked The Handmaid’s Tale in a speech at Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary gala in New York City. (H/T The Hollywood Reporter).
The first woman nominated by a major party for the U.S. presidency, Clinton gave the most impassioned and unequivocal defense of women’s reproductive rights — including a woman’s right to an abortion — we’ve heard from a presidential candidate, in the third and final debate against Donald Trump. Last night, she received Planned Parenthood’s Champion of the Century Award, which she accepted after a standing ovation.
Her speech focused on the “unprecedented attacks” against women’s access to health care worldwide in the months since Trump took office. According to THR, Clinton provided statistics to back up her support of the nonprofit — which, despite the efforts of Republican leaders to defund the organization, still has the support of most voters. “This administration wants to appoint someone to lead our nation’s family planning program who doesn’t believe in birth control,” Clinton said, although she never mentioned Trump by name. She continued:
As we speak, politicians in Washington are still doing everything they can to roll back the rights and progress we’ve fought so hard for over the last century. I mean, could you believe those photos of men around that conference table, deciding how to strip away coverage for pregnancy and maternity care? I gotta say, my favorite internet meme about this were the dogs sitting around the table discussing feline care — I found that so on point!
Toward the end of the speech, Clinton drew an analogy that’s been staring many of us in the face lately, between the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel-turned-Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale and our current political landscape. “I’m not suggesting this dystopian future is around the corner,” she said, “but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women’s rights are gradually, slowly stripped away. As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ It is not too late for us, but we have to encourage the millions of women and men who support Planned Parenthood’s mission to keep fighting. To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, we can never let them grind us down.”