— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) May 3, 2017
Just like Barack Obama is back in the spotlight, Hillary Clinton has returned to public life in a dramatic way. On Tuesday, she not only got real about election grudges and regrets, but she also spent her evening at the 100th anniversary gala for Planned Parenthood in New York City. In doing so, Hillary emerged from the woods to draw comparisons between the current state of women’s reproductive rights and the terrifying adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Her reference could hardly have landed at a time that’s more culturally relevant. Planned Parenthood has been placed on the Trump-Pence naughty list for defunding at the state level (after Trump directly threatened this funding because the organization provides abortions). Congress’ new bipartisan spending agreement prevented federal cuts to the women’s health organization, but this is only a temporary victory. Clinton warned that Atwood’s story should be taken seriously as a cautionary tale that can help prevent the further loss of women’s rights — if people act now:
“[W]hat a time it is to be holding this centennial, just ask those who’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale, a book I read and was captivated by years ago … Now I am not suggestion this dystopian future is around the corner, but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy.
“In The Handmaid’s Tale women’s rights are 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 to keep fighting.”
Clinton also paid lip service to the current white, male administration who flanked Trump while he signed an executive order on women’s reproductive health — the “photos of groups of men around that conference table” — that signal a White House and Congress who are giddy and proud while making sweeping decisions about what woman can do with their bodies.
And although Democrats temporarily scored with the spending agreement, Trump has found a new way to bolster his (current) pro-life agenda. Within the Department of Health and Human Services, he’s installed Charmaine Yoest and Teresa Manning in key positions. Yoest formerly led the Americans United for Life group, and she will now be assistant secretary for public affairs. Whereas Manning formerly lobbied for the National Right to Life committee and will act as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs.
Along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination and a healthcare bill still in process, Trump’s new Health and Human Services appointments could do some real damage to the interests and rights of women. So, Clinton evoking The Handmaid’s Tale really isn’t a far-fetched comparison. Not at all.