The Handmaid’s Fail 

Hulu & Planned Parenthood Collaboration Creates Misconceptions about Pregnancy Resource Centers  

By Brittany Smith 

Hulu’s hit drama, The Handmaid’s Tale, appears to take aim at pregnancy resource centers — a move celebrated by Planned Parenthood.  

The show, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s book by the same name, is set in a dystopian future. One with plummeting birthrates where the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude.  

Through a series of flashbacks in its most recent episode, Milk, the character Janine Lindo (Madeline Brewer) visits a pregnancy center looking for an abortion. The clinic worker is insensitive, overly religious and ultimately shames Janine for wanting an abortion.  

The scene, and the episode, do not portray how PRCs operate in the real world. 

Shara Pierce has worked in the pro-life movement for over 16 years, 10 of those years as a client advocate at pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in both Texas and Colorado.  

“In my experience, we never pushed any information on a client. We ask them how they were feeling, and what they were leaning toward once they found out they were pregnant,” she explained.  

Educating women on all their options is standard practice at pregnancy resource centers. 

Additionally, “both pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are administered by a registered nurse with accurate medical information,” Piece explained. We also present all the options available to a woman — parenting, adoption, or abortion. If she did choose to parent, we [my clinic] would help her walk through her next steps. Whether it was making a birth plan, getting access to community resources, or enrolling in the parenting classes we offered.” 

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of The Susan B. Anthony List found that not only are the majority of people who visit a PRC satisfied with their visit, “nearly nine in 10 females and eight in 10 males described their experience as very positive or somewhat positive.’’ And the percentages were almost the same whether the person responding self-described as pro-life or pro-choice. 

The organization also found that the majority of Americans consider pregnancy resource centers valuable community resources — serving 2 million people each year with free services. Including diapers, formula, free medical services, and more. All at an estimated savings to taxpayers to the tune of $270 million.  

“We know women don’t get pregnant so they can have an abortion,” said Pierce. “But often, when they have an unplanned pregnancy, abortion seems like the easy option. We want women to know all their options.”  

That’s something Hulu and the Handmaid’s Tale don’t seem as interested in presenting.