New York, NY — Today, a new episode of the Emmy Award-winning show The Handmaid’s Tale premieres, in which the character of Janine Lindo, played by Madeline Brewer, seeks a medication abortion. In a flashback scene to 2013, Janine finds herself at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) instead of a real health center, where she is shamed by a staff person, given medically inaccurate information about abortion and pregnancy, and ultimately leaves without the health care she needs.
Statement from Madeline Brewer, actor:
For so many people across the country, accessing an abortion can be a harrowing experience navigating stigma, misinformation, and medically unnecessary restrictions. This episode illustrates a modern-day reality: CPCs only serve to harm people who are simply trying to get the care they need, when they need it. I’m grateful to be part of a series that sheds light on abortion stigma, and I’m hopeful we can achieve a world where all people have access to sexual and reproductive health care, including accurate information and a trusted provider — no matter who they are or where they’re from.
Statement from Caren Spruch, senior director of arts & entertainment engagement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
Planned Parenthood applauds The Handmaid’s Tale for collaborating with us to portray a medication abortion and to show the harm that crisis pregnancy centers cause to people seeking safe, legal health care. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country know firsthand the urgency of people having medically accurate information about all of their pregnancy options and access to abortion. We’re extremely grateful to The Handmaid’s Tale for telling this realistic story about sexual and reproductive health care, which will spark important conversations about abortion in America today. No one should be pressured into making a decision about their pregnancy or feel shame or stigma about their decision.
The episode closes with Janine at a real health center, where she is able to meet with a health care provider who offers her nonjudgmental care and the information she needs to complete a medication abortion at home.
Unfortunately, CPCs are not fiction — these unreliable and false clinics say they offer pregnancy services but are run by people opposed to abortion. Often, CPCs are located very close to Planned Parenthood health centers or other real medical providers to intentionally mislead potential patients. These so-called clinics frequently use lies and manipulation to try and dissuade or delay people from making their own decision to get an abortion.
Medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a safe and effective option to end an early pregnancy. It’s a process that ends a pregnancy by taking two sets of medication: typically one is taken at a health center, and then the second medicine 24-48 hours later. In general, medication abortion can be used up to 77 days — or 11 weeks — after the first day of someone’s last period. (A medication abortion is different than emergency contraception, or “the morning after pill,” which prevents a pregnancy from occurring.)
A growing proportion of patients in the United States are deciding to end their pregnancies with medication abortion. In fact, in 2017, medication abortions accounted for 39% of all abortions in the country. Especially during the ongoing pandemic, people need more access to safe abortion options, including medication abortion, which can help to reduce unnecessary health center visits and potential COVID-19 exposure for both patients and health center staff.
In 2017, NowThis released a PSA with the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale in support of Planned Parenthood and sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2019, The Handmaid’s Tale joined Planned Parenthood and BAZAAR.com to denounce state attacks on safe, legal abortion and declare: “Abortion Care Is Health Care.”
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.