Women dressed in 'Handmaid's Tale' garb protest Pence in Philly

Vice President Mike Pence’s second visit to Philadelphia this summer was again met with protests, this time with a dystopian theme.

People dressed as handmaids from the novel-turned-Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale joined protesters outside of the Union League Monday evening. Pence was hosting a fund-raiser at the club for fellow Republican Lou Barletta, who is running against Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.).

Samantha Goldman, an organizer of the protest, said before the event that 100 women had signed up to dress as handmaids. Over the past few weeks, they have been meeting in living rooms and coffee shops to sew the scarlet robed costumes and make white bonnets.

>> READ MORE: In Philly, VP Mike Pence touts Trump successes, stumps Lou Barletta

Handmaid-themed protests have gained popularity in recent months from Washington, D.C. to England and Ireland. In March, women in Texas wearing Handmaid’s Tale garb protested legislation limiting abortion access before the state senate there. In May, women in Missouri held a similar costumed protest.

In the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, the United States is turned into the Republic of Gilead, a military dictatorship in which fertile women are imprisoned and forced to provide children to higher-ranking families. Goldman said the group is protesting Pence for what they see as anti-woman and anti-LGBT stances.

“We just felt that the visual of the Handmaid’s Tale costumes, a society in which women in Gilead are stripped of their most basic rights and their humanity, was appropriate,” Goldman said.

Camera icon DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Protesters Mary Tierney, left, and Liz McHale, right, wait at City Hall dressed in costumes from the Handmaid’s Tale as Vice President Mike Pence makes a stop at the Union League in Philadelphia, PA on July 23, 2018.

Hundreds of protesters took to Rittenhouse Square the last time Pence came to Philadelphia June 19, lining up children’s shoes to condemn President Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Monday’s protest was organized by Goldman’s group, Refuse Fascism, in conjunction with Philadelphia’s chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Delaware County chapter of NOW.

Additional Pence protests led by NextGen Pennsylvania were planned for the afternoon at City Hall.

Goldman noted that since Pence’s last visit the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s travel ban and the president nominated Brett Kavanaugh to become a justice.

>> READ MORE: Pence and the Philly ‘Handmaids’: Why getting the red out there matters

“A lot has happened since the last time he came here,” she said. “Not that it wasn’t important then, but the necessity to be heard has only increased.”

Camera icon DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Protesters gather in front of the Union League in costumes from the Handmaid’s Tale as Vice President Mike Pence makes a stop there in Philadelphia, PA on July 23, 2018.
Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Protesters gathered at Broad Street on the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence at the Union League, in Philadelphia, Monday July 23, 2018.