I would like to thank you all for coming out for this rally. By showing support and solidarity today, we send a clear message that we will not comply with laws and regulations that strip us of our rights. These rules have been made by anti-American political elites who aim to profit off of the bodies of U.S. workers by spreading fear, disinformation, and division. Abortion used to be a private choice made by families after considering their personal situation and then maybe speaking with their doctor, family, possibly their close friends or trusted clergy. Now, the government demands that these choices be made for us, with criminal consequences for those who do not submit. Let me repeat. We will not comply. We deserve the right to privacy and agency over our bodies. These are non-negotiable terms.
I grew up in rural Missouri, and I was raised in churches where I was told that women were only to be seen and never heard. A woman’s place is in the home or the nursery. Maybe as a nurse or a teacher, if her husband allows her to work. She must be silent. She must submit.
I am here to say - We will not be silent. We will not submit. We belong in all places where decisions are made.
Abortion care is healthcare. Access to healthcare saves lives. Missouri voted overwhelmingly to expand access to Medicaid, but our elected leaders overrode the will of the People, and as a result rural hospitals all over the state have closed or significantly decreased available services. In a state with such high maternal death rates, particularly among black mothers and poor rural families, it is imperative that we expand access to care that saves lives. This includes abortion care, primary care, mental health and addiction services. Healthcare shouldn’t make us go bankrupt or tie us to a job that won’t allow us paid time off to bear children.
The time for weak leadership is over. The Congressman (Blaine Luetkemeyer) who currently sits in the seat to represent Missouri’s third district makes it clear that he has no problem stripping away the rights of his constituents and erasing the existence of others if it means a high-dollar donations from his corporate donors. He sells out the American people for cash. Our freedom is not for sale.
Last week, he voted against our right to access birth control. He also voted against only 4 weeks of paid maternal leave. He expects us to work while bloodied and bruised in working conditions and pay dictated by the corporations that fund for his family vacations and retirement portfolio. If we cannot control our own reproduction, we are no better than the livestock on the family farms that he allows to go bankrupt because of his greed and impotence. The time for weak leadership is over. Blaine must go. Those who enable him through votes or inaction at the polls will also face a reckoning. Never underestimate the power of the American woman. If our leaders will not save us, we will rise up and demand justice for all. And we will win.
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? After we vote out these cowards on November 8th, we will pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe and enshrine access to healthcare as a fundamental right, regardless of gender, identity, or sexual orientation. We will meaningfully ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, to make sure that all people are equal under the law with consequences for those who pay us less for the same type of work. We will get rid of the Hyde Amendment, because we recognize that those who suffer the greatest risk of death and harm are those with restricted access to wealth and healthcare. We will pass the ProAct to make sure that all workers can collectively bargain for fair wages and working conditions. We understand that attacks against our bodily autonomy comes from the anti-labor movement that seeks to divide and conquer the American worker. We will not let them win.
Finally, I want to say thank you to every leader who showed up here today. I don’t know what brought you to this rally, but I know that your presence here sends a message to those who couldn’t be here with us today. You speak for the victims of domestic violence, unable to attend because of what their partners or families would say or do to them for being here. Your presence lets the child being molested by a family member or friend know that someone will stand up and advocate for the justice unavailable to them because they are being silenced right now. You speak for the women who died unable to access healthcare because those in power decided that their lives were worth less than a campaign donation. You speak for those who came before us to fight for our rights, and who can not join us from the grave, but who live on in the spirit and truth of true patriotism. Thank you for fighting for justice.
Mark my words, we will reclaim our rights and fight like hell until we get them back. Thank you to all of the volunteers who made this happen. I am Bethany Mann and I respectfully ask for your vote on August 2nd.