Women dressed like characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale” protested for reproductive rights outside a gathering of conservative Republicans in Mesa on Saturday.

The National Federation of Republican Assemblies convention drew hundreds of people, including Arizona Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former state Sen. Russell Pearce.

Attendees from across the country at the event discussed a host of conservative issues, including gun rights, federal land and reproductive issues.

The event wraps up Sunday.

Protesters were focused on reproductive issues.

About 20 women from Stronger Together Arizona, the Women’s Reproductive Rights Subcommittee, dressed as handmaids to represent characters from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel and recent TV series. 

The women in the novel are essentially stripped of their rights and sexually abused for reproduction.

“There are men in that building who claim to oppose abortion on the grounds that they are pro-life, but time and time again they have acted and voted to show that are not pro-life,” said Kim Mundis, who helped organize the protest. “They are pursing a religious-based agenda to control women.”

Some Republicans in attendance said they didn’t mind the peaceful protests.

Among them was Bob Branch, who had a booth at the event to gather support for his campaign for Arizona superintendent of public instruction.

Branch said his party very much supports women’s rights and his purpose at the conference was to “listen to speakers speak about democracy and different issues facing the country.” 

Others, like William Rodriguez Morrison, who is running for governor of California, thought the protest was “ridiculous” and a “waste of time.”

“We should really go after the hard issues on transparency and our tax dollars,” Morrison said.

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