Throughout the past month, multiple states held rallies and protests against the stay-at-home order. The essential messag "keep non-essential businesses open." These protesters chanted words like "USA" and held flags that read "Don't tread on me." Reading the messages on the signs and knowing these protestors are screaming "It's a free country" gave me chills. "Don't tread on me" and "it's a free country" — aren't these the same messages women who are pro-choice chant? Doesn't the government tread on women's bodies, and determine what is and isn't acceptable in regard to abortion?
Many of these protesters are demanding and shouting the government should let them make their own decisions regarding their health. Isn't that ironic, isn't this what women have been pushing for, to have a choice over their body and wellbeing? I find it strange women are met with fire when advocating for pro-choice policies but with these protestors are lauded as "fighting for their economy."
I find this incredibly hypocritical.
While I don't know if these protesters are anti-choice, it has been reported people behind the protests have ties to the Republican Party and Trump administration, such as the chairman for the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund which is behind some of the major protests in the state. This man also manages financial investments of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Nor does it help that our current president is tweeting messages reading "LIBERATE MINNESOTA," "LIBERATE MICHIGAN," and "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"
Women are no strangers to rallies and protests. On International Women's Day, people fill the street to protest gender inequality and violence, while the Women's March aims to unite women to have the same opportunity men do in positions of power. Just last May, protesters took to the streets over some of the most restrictive abortion bills being debated in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio.
Texas, which was one of the first states to lift the stay at home order, used the coronavirus as a means to close abortion clinics. The governor and state officials argue abortions and medication abortions where clinic staff provides pills are elective procedures and the medical equipment used should be distributed to other areas amid the COVID outbreak. This new block sparked many women to try self-induced abortions or drive to out-of-state clinics. More than half a dozen states tried to follow Texas suit, banning abortions during the outbreak.
While I do not agree with the message of these protests, I do understand the reason behind them and support everyone's right to free speech. But what I cannot get behind is the danger these people are putting themselves and others in, and the blatant disrespect to health care practitioners and first responders. For example, in Michigan, protestors blocked a hospital, making it impossible for an ambulance to drop off patients.
Here here is my main message for the protesters, if the government doesn't have a right to potentially save you and your loved ones from a deadly virus, then it has no right to control what women choose in regard to their bodies.
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