About 350 concerned Iowans gathered outside of MercyOne in Des Moines on Friday afternoon to express support for medical freedom, informed consent and liberty while opposing employer vaccine mandates.
We talked with an Army veteran who said he was there because he believes in freedom, not force.
“This is kind of crazy,” he said. “It’s the current administration. They just want total control of society.”
Gary Leffler, a conservative activist who is well known for his famous patriotic tractor, said he was thrilled to see the people gathered in defense of freedom.
“The response we’ve had today has just been outstanding,” he said. “To see all these patriots out here fighting for our freedoms, we want to maintain our freedoms. This is what the founding fathers had in mind. It’s not a capitulation to whatever the rule makers want to do. But hey, we the people, by the people, for the people — I think that says it all.”
Leffler added the big question is how much money is being made by major pharmaceutical companies by pushing the vaccine mandates.
“We’ve gotta get the governor on board with this,” he added. “She could do it by Executive Order, right?”
Another individual told us the VP said there are no vaccinated patients admitted at UnityPoint.
“The nurses told me that’s a lie,” this individual said. “The VP is saying there’s no vaccinated people. I just ask nurses and they’re like that’s an (expletive) lie.”
Another individual said all patients are again being tested for COVID.
We talked with a woman who was standing up for her daughter-in-law, who works in the health care system and couldn’t be at the protest.
She said UnityPoint had a “so-called town hall” meeting on Friday morning where employees would supposedly be able to ask questions.
“Didn’t happen,” she said. “A friend of mine told me that you could submit a question and then they read questions that were supposedly submitted. But it wasn’t a free and open discussion. The concerns that the staff have were not really addressed.”
Employees were told that if something happened as a result of the vaccine, the hospital would not be held accountable.
The numbers vary, this individual told us, in terms of compliance. On Friday morning, employees were told there was 90 percent compliance. That’s up from 75 percent about two weeks ago.
However on the same day, the rate was 75 percent, this individual said a vice president of UnityPoint told her it was only 60 percent.
Employees are quitting and they’re fearful of speaking out against the mandate. They also have to disclose very personal religious beliefs that are then judged by someone else whether they’re sincerely held.
“People have been told that if they took the flu shot, they do not qualify for a religious exemption,” this individual told us. “But it’s called informed consent. So if you didn’t know beforehand that aborted fetal cells are used in the production and testing of these vaccines and now you do, now you can say ‘now I have informed consent.'”
Kari, who organized the event, was interviewed by The Des Moines Register. She said he was not kind.
“He was very prying and was like, ‘well, what is your religion and why don’t you want the vaccine,'” she said. “Just like really prying questions. Like I should explain myself. I don’t want it. I just don’t want it. Everybody should be able to say that they don’t want something and that’s it, that’s how it’s always been. I’ve been a nurse 10 years. If a patient doesn’t want a procedure, medication, anything — you just say no and if you’re of sound mind that’s it. That’s end of story.”
She’ll continue the demonstrations.
“I’m not stopping. This is really, really important,” she said. “If we let this slide past health care workers, it’s just going to go onto everybody else. We have a lot of people supporting us. If we just let this go without a fight and let it go past us then it’s going to be everywhere.”
Another gentleman told us he didn’t feel like going to the protest.
“But when you get down here, you get uplifted,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to push freedom on people, but when you get backed into a corner, we’ve got to fight for it. That’s the whole thing. They’re backing us in a corner.”
We talked with a MercyOne employee who came out during her workday.
“I’m actually on duty, I just want to be a part of this,” she said. “I think it’s amazing. I can’t believe how many people are out here right now. I’m so glad so many agree with stopping this mandate. It means everything to me.”
The deadline for MercyOne employees is Nov. 1. She said she doesn’t want to have to leave her job, but she will if it means having to get the vaccine.
“I would say the majority, from what I’ve heard, wants to stop this mandate,” she said. “They want to keep this job and they want to keep helping people, but not to the point where we have to take this vaccine.
“I can’t believe how many people are out here and it means a lot. It really means a lot.”
We spoke with a couple who was visiting a relative in the ICU at MercyOne. They knew nothing of the protest but went outside when they saw the large group of people.
“This isn’t just an anti-vaccine crowd,” he said. “This is an anti-taking-my-rights-away crowd.”
The woman was forced to wear an N-95 mask because she was unvaccinated while those vaccinated could continue wearing other masks. This revealed what they felt is private health information.
“My kids have been vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, all the little stuff you know,” he said. “But those vaccines have been researched and put in practice for years and years and years — not rushed through one year of trials. Basically, this is all trials and experimental.”
Both of them have had COVID and believe their antibodies are fine.
He said it is sad that nurses and others who would make the hospital or long-term care facilities better won’t be able to work because they refuse to think like the news and go along with the narrative.
“It’s petty if you ask me,” he said.
The next demonstration in the Des Moines area is planned for Sept. 3 at Broadlawns.