Another Pence protest planned for Philly
Protesters plan to demonstrate during Pence’s July 23 visit with women dressed in “Handmaid’s Tale” costumes.
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Vice President Mike Pence will visit Philadelphia for another Republican fundraiser on July 23, this time supporting Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) for his 2018 re-election bid at the Union League, and protesters will gather - again - to demonstrate against the Trump administration.
Similar to the Rittenhouse Square protest last month, which aligned with a previous Pence visit, political organization Refuse Fascism Philly will lead the demonstration. The June protest was held in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The anti-Trump group cited the immigration policy as a reason for the upcoming protest, given that the Trump administration has not yet met a reunification order from San Diego U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw and has six days left to comply. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported on July 19 that 394 of the 2,500 separated children have been reunited with their families.
Rep. Barletta himself has also spoken out about immigration policy, defending ICE and its efforts to prevent an influx of crime, illegal drugs and human trafficking on Twitter, using #StandWithICE. But it appears the protest on Monday will primarily focus on women’s rights.
I just voted to #StandWithICE while most of the Democrats in Washington continue to attack the brave, dedicated men & women of @ICEgov. They put their lives on the line to protect our communities from illegal drugs, human trafficking & gang violence - they should have our support pic.twitter.com/Y1clR3xZcW— Rep. Lou Barletta (@RepLouBarletta) July 18, 2018
Refuse Fascism Philly plans to have 100 women dressed in costumes from the dystopian Hulu television series and fiction novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” at the rally, according to a press release. The visual representation of handmaids, who in the novel have no freedoms and are forced to procreate with high-status men in government, has been used at left-leaning protests to represent the Trump administration’s objections to women’s reproductive rights.
Refuse Fascism Philly will be joined by women’s activist groups including the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Delco NOW and the Green Party of Philadelphia. Pence’s visit will mark two weeks since President Trump nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Though the Senatorial approval process has not yet begun, Democrats are worried about the 5-4 Conservative majority that would be created in the U.S. Supreme Court if Kavanaugh fills the seat. Women’s rights activists fear the possibility of the court attempting to overturn the decisive 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion, or prevent access to contraception, given that Kavanaugh is Catholic. However, he has also consistently upheld judicial precedent during his history in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In the press release, Refuse Fascism Philly stated that “if confirmed [Kavanaugh] will eviscerate voting rights and the separation of powers, and strip women and girls of the right to abortion and birth control.” It continued, arguing Pence has been dangerous to pro-women and LGBTQ policies and that he embraces “Christian Fascism.”
Refuse Fascism Philly is inviting like-minded organizations to align with it for the protest and hopes for a turnout similar to last month’s demonstration, which brought thousands to Rittenhouse Square. Monday’s protest will be outside the Union League of Philadelphia, the venue for Rep. Barletta’s fundraiser, on Broad and Sansom Streets. The demonstrators plan to begin protesting at 5 p.m. but said on their Facebook page that the time is subject to change.