Monica Lewinksy desperately wants you to vote with reproductive rights on the brain. In a splashy new op-ed in Vanity Fair published Thursday, the activist and embattled former White House intern said losing the right to abortion would be a “one-way ticket to the Republic of Gilead,” referencing the fascist dystopian world of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
“The sad truth and consequence of the coming election—the most significant midterm in memory—makes it all the more incumbent upon us to make bloody sure we give our consent to be governed. That’s because one subject, above all others, is on the ballot. A woman’s body,” Lewinksy wrote.
This is the first major national election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year, sending the question of abortion legality back to the states. The decision—which was leaked in May—has sent states into chaos. At least 66 clinics in 15 states were forced to stop providing abortion care.
When you zoom in on the personal experiences of patients, it’s even more bleak: A Louisiana woman was forced to carry a skull-less fetus for more than 13 weeks because the state’s laws didn’t explicitly list her fetal abnormality. A 41-year-old woman in Missouri living under a total ban needed an abortion to save her life, but couldn’t get one; she got so desperate she asked a local politician for help, and he directed her to a deceitful anti-abortion clinic, wasting her precious time until sepsis kicked in.
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The lack of explicit protections for abortion on the federal and state levels means pregnancy is even more dangerous than just last year. This is a truth Lewinsky recognized; “It’s the gateway issue: Once our bodily autonomy is gone, we are on a one-way ticket to the Republic of Gilead,” she wrote. “Or in other words—for the 2 percent of you who haven’t seen (or read) The Handmaid’s Tale— ‘it’s the autonomy, stupid.’”
Lewisnky’s op-ed does posit that abortion is a “difficult decision,” which I don’t agree is a universal experience. But I am glad to see that Lewinsky knows that abortions, no matter the reason, as worth protecting. “No one has ‘having an abortion’ on their bucket list. No one wants an unplanned pregnancy. Abortion is simply the last resort to prevent one (or chosen for medical reasons), and it must be every woman’s right to make that difficult decision for herself,” she wrote.
As Lewinsky eloquently put it: “So, quite simply, we must vote for candidates on November 8 who have taken a stand in favor of a woman’s right to choose.”
Some on the internet, of course, are trying to slut-shame Lewinsky, as always, over her support for reproductive rights. She is responding in the best way she possibly could.