A group of Idaho health care professionals who are pushing back against Covid shot mandates in Idaho’s largest healthcare organizations want the state legislature to address the issue. Having reached out to Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Dist.20) multiple times without a response, the group, which calls itself Take a Stand Now, bought several billboards near Winder’s district, which read, “Senator Winder: Listen to fellow Idahoans, not your BIG PHARMA donors! Reconvene the Senate!!” As of this writing, representatives from Take a Stand Now say Winder has not responded to discuss the group concerns.
According to public records, Winder receives campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies and other medical organizations such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Co, Regence, PhRMA, Caremark Rx, Johnson and Johnson, United Health Group, Molina Healthcare, Blue Cross of Idaho, and Sanofi US Services.
Take a Stand Now was formed after St. Luke’s, St. Alphonsus, and Primary Health, the three largest healthcare employers in Idaho, stated all their employees and vendors must receive a Covid shot before September 1 or lose their jobs. Multiple protests have occurred outside hospitals in southern Idaho, including a large protest in front of St. Luke’s in Meridian, but hospital administrators have stood their ground.
“Garbage Legislation” Not Wanted
On July 9, Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin wrote to House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Dist.27), requesting he reconvene the House to address the issue, but Bedke told news outlets he didn’t want to interfere with private business. However, several legislators have told True Idaho News that Bedke has been trying to broker a deal behind the scenes, allowing current hospital employees to remain “unvaccinated” but mandating all future employees receive the mRNA injections. A legislator who did not want to be named for this article said such an arrangement “would be garbage legislation.” A medical professional who also did not want to be named told True Idaho News she was vehemently against such legislation, saying it would codify that organizations could mandate the “vaccine.” She said, “That would be worse than not passing any legislation at all.”
Legislators Have Been Non-Responsive
When True Idaho News reached out to Take a Stand Now for comment about their billboards, spokesperson Carrie Gray said Bedke has been unapproachable and has gone on record as saying he will not call the House back from their recess to address their concerns. Because of that, Take a Stand Now decided to reach out to Winder, who is the Senate President Pro Tempore. The House is technically in recess, so the state’s Attorney General’s office has stated that Winder could call the Senate back in session without needing the Governor’s approval.
According to Gray, “None of (the legislators) have been returning our phone calls. We’ve written emails, made phone calls, and left messages.” Grey also said, “The reason we finally did the billboard is because when you put that out in the public, it gets attention. But not much has happened.”
Gray said one of their members also finally got through to Sen. Fred Martin (R-Dist.15), chair of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, and they are hoping to get a meeting set up with him, but Martin has made clear his belief that employers have a right to mandate vaccines. However, what has yet to be clarified is whether the Covid injections legally qualify as a vaccine. When one compares the medical community’s description of what Covid shots do with the CDC’s definition of what a vaccine does, the two do not align.
Gray also said, “I really feel it comes down to being heard. I’m shocked that when you’re trying to get ahold of legislators – and really have a conversation – just how inaccessible they are. I didn’t even get an email back from the governor’s office. I think the disconnect between citizens and the legislature has got to stop. You should be able to reach out and have a conversation whether they agree with your topic or not. After all, we are the citizens that elect them.”
About Take a Stand Now
The mission of Take a Stand Now is unique. According to their website, takeastandnow.org, “Our mission is to Take a Stand Now against employers or any organization that wishes to impose overreaching mandates that compromises an individual’s liberty over their bodily autonomy. We are ready to fight the battle against any coerced medical procedure.”
Their website further states, “We are a grassroots movement originally established by a group of healthcare workers in Idaho who sought to stop vaccine mandates imposed by their employers. We are committed to empowering individuals to stand and exercise their rights to individual autonomy and choice regarding their bodies, and personal medical decisions. We believe in freedom over force and that coercion is not consent.”
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