On Sunday night, the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” cleaned up at the Emmy Awards. Bruce Miller, writer and executive producer for the series, connected his win to activism — and Planned Parenthood could not have been happier. No, seriously, that’s what the organization said.
“Couldn’t think of a better ending to the #Emmys if we tried,” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, tweeted. This message was also retweeting Miller’s statement.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) September 18, 2017
Miller, who accepted the show’s award for “Best Drama Series,” ended his remarks with an incitement to activism. “Go home. Get to work. We have a lot of things to fight for,” he said.
NARAL, formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League, also gloried in the victory of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This organization was more explicit in its connection between the Hulu series and abortion activism. “Congratulations to Handmaid’s Tale on your Emmys win for best drama series! The show highlighted the importance of [reproductive freedom] for all,” the organization declared.
— NARAL (@NARAL) September 18, 2017
The liberal slant of the Emmys might come as no surprise to Americans. But “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the first television show produced by a streaming service to win the “Best Drama” award, has often been used by abortion activists as a particularly powerful rallying cry.
Abortion activists in Ohio, Texas, and Missouri have all dressed up like handmaids to protest pro-life legislation. When the Republicans came out with a bill to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare, SJWs on Twitter compared it to “The Handmaid’s Tale” because it would restrict funding to Planned Parenthood.
— NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio (@ProChoiceOH) June 13, 2017
Indeed, Hillary Clinton herself warned that if the United States government defunded Planned Parenthood, that would be similar to the first steps of the establishment of the dystopia in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
One of Clinton’s favorite journalists, Lauren Duca, went even further. “I just want the Evangelicals to know, if you guys figure out how to do ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ IRL, I am fully prepared to bite some d*cks off,” she tweeted.
I just want the Evangelicals to know, if you guys figure out how to do "The Handmaid's Tale" IRL, I am fully prepared to bite some dicks off
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) August 29, 2017
Why do abortion activists champion the Hulu series? “The Handmaid’s Tale” presents a dystopian future following a calamity that makes most women infertile. The United States — or at least large parts of it — has been coopted by a movement known as “Gilead,” which removes all autonomy from women.
Gilead seizes women’s property, forces companies to fire them, and forces them into a stratified society based extremely loosely on Genesis 30. The government assigns fertile women the position of “handmaids,” silent servants systematically raped in order to bear children.
Gilead uses Genesis 30 as the pretext for this horrible system. In that Bible passage, Jacob’s wife Rachel, anxious for children, tells her husband to have sex with her handmaid Bilhah. In response, Jacob’s other wife Leah tells Jacob to have sex with her handmaid Zilpah.
This passage is recording history, not presenting a biblical model of marriage. Indeed, from Genesis to the words of Jesus, the Bible presents men and women as designed for one another in the covenant of marriage, one man and one woman. In context, Genesis 30 is more a warning against polygamy than a model for Jews or Christians.
Even so, the premise makes for some fascinating dystopia. While Atwood’s book might present Gilead with more finesse, marking it specifically off as a post-Christian cult focused on power more than belief, the show does not take pains to do this, and activists have run the premise into the ground.
Duca’s suggestion that evangelicals secretly want to create Gilead is a terrifying reminder of just how much irrational suspicion, fear, and judgment many American religious groups harbor toward those who do not share their religious beliefs.
Even the most conservative of biblical Christians would find Gilead abhorrent. While many Christians do twist scripture, any suggestion that they would view Genesis 30 as a political program is absurd. While Atwood may not have meant to suggest such a real-world application, Duca’s rush to do so is revealing.
Similarly revealing was the unvarnished praise from Planned Parenthood and NARAL for the series.
Desperate to convince Americans that abortion should not be restricted for any reason — a position even most pro-choice Americans disagree with — NARAL and Planned Parenthood conjure up “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a warning about pro-life activists.
Only a crazed activist could compare a bill preventing dismemberment abortions to a society in which women are systematically raped in order to bear children. Only a crazed activist could compare removing taxpayer funds from America’s largest abortion provider to a system that removes property, freedom, and the right to vote from women.
No pro-life activist wants Gilead — they simply want their tax dollars not to go toward abortion, and ultimately they want unborn children to be considered human beings with the right to life.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” may have deserved its Emmy victories — it was an arresting, terrifying, and fascinating series, after all. But abortion activists are trying to turn this piece of art into an anti-biblical screed against the pro-life movement, and it seems Bruce Miller is complicit in doing so.