San Francisco, Feb. 27 – Handmaids protest in front of St. Mary’s church

Demonstrators Disrupt Sunday Mass, Denounce Archbishop’s Extreme Patriarchy


by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Bay Area


Protesters disrupted mass at St. Mary’s church in San Francisco on February 27th, in red costumes with white bonnets – reminiscent of those worn in the Handmaid’s Tale. (A novel by Margaret Atwood, adapted for television and available on Hulu).


They made their way without difficulty to the front of the sanctuary where they stood and denounced the church and specifically its archbishop for extreme patriarchy that contributes to the subjugation of women as portrayed in the famous novel. They said that their bold, defiant move was to sound the alarm against the Supreme Court’s moves to obliterate abortion rights.


St. Mary’s was the target of their protest because anti-abortion Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone has called abortion a heinous evil and child sacrifice. Protesters said that he also led the recent Walk for Life march through San Francisco unmasked, despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19. Right-wing Catholics have been a pillar of the anti-abortion movement in the U.S.since 1967.



Outside the cathedral a small group of anti-abortion activists attempted to challenge the disrupters, but they were overwhelmed by the red cloaked handmaidens, Raging Grannies, Refuse Fascism activists and other pro-choice demonstrators. The most vocal of the anti-abortion noisemakers, who carried a sign saying she is an atheist, was apparently confused and joined the handmaidens inside the church, actually helping to create mayhem during the service.


The St. Mary’s protest was part of a buildup of activity in advance of mass protests to be held on March 8 International Women’s Day nationwide. In the Bay Area, an abortion rights demo will be held in Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus from noon and will be followed by a march through the city.


Photos by Rachel Podlishevsky, ProBonoPhoto