File-Indiana statehouse anti-vaccine rally

A crowd gathered on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse on Sunday, September 19, for a Rally for Medical Freedom to protest vaccine mandates.  

(The Center Square) – More than 500 people gathered on the statehouse lawn in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon in opposition to vaccine mandates and with a stated goal to pressure the Indiana General Assembly to pass laws stopping vaccine mandates and to immediately end the state of emergency.

“Population-wide mandates cannot be trusted,” Leah Wilson of Stand for Health Freedom told the crowd. “The CDC has a horrible track record. There is no science behind mandating a specific drug for an entire population at the same time.”

Wilson, a former attorney who co-founded Stand for Health Freedom, said the organization has picked up more than 10,000 new members since last January when it lobbied for a bill in the Indiana Senate to prohibit employer vaccine mandates. The bill died in the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee in the face of opposition from big business.

The focus of the rally was on employer vaccine mandates, and President Biden’s newly announced mandate that will use a federal OSHA regulation to mandate all employers with 100 or more employees require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing.

Wilson called on the Indiana General Assembly to make Biden’s mandate illegal in Indiana by passing two bills – one that will create a new protected class for medical status and vaccination status and another that will end the governor’s state of emergency.

The Indiana General Assembly is convening in Indianapolis this week to take up redistricting, but the rally-goers want them to also take action on the issue of vaccine mandates.

At least three state legislators attended the event – Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, Rep. John Jacob, R-Indianapolis, and Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour. Both Nisly and Jacob spoke.

Jacob, a first-term legislator representing south Indianapolis and the northern part of Johnson County, called Biden’s vaccine mandate an “all-out attack on the American people and the U.S. constitution.”

“I immediately realized that we need to have an all-out ban on COVID vaccine mandates and ban on proof of vaccination, period,” he told the crowd, many of who carried signs and waved flags.

“I will stand for banning any and all COVID vaccine mandates in our great state of Indiana to protect all Hoosiers,” he said. “Those who want the so-called vaccine, the jab, they can voluntarily take it if they want to, and if they don’t want to take it, then they don’t have to take it. Nobody, and I repeat nobody, should have to deal with the possibility of losing their job, their livelihood and not being able to feed their family because they don’t want the COVID vaccine.”

Jacob compared the government’s actions during the pandemic to a “python.”

“You know, they clamp down, and they tighten up, tighten up and they keep on clamping down,” he told the crowd. “And they relax just a little bit, just for you to get a breath. And then they just cramp down even harder. This issue, I want to be very clear, is about control. The government is trying to control us, We the People. We need to push back and we need to keep pushing back until they take the rightful position and represent us.”

Nisly took to the steps of the Statehouse and told the crowd he would introduce a resolution to immediately end the state of emergency, saying it wouldn’t even need to go through committee – it could just go straight for a vote on the floor.

“We cannot allow the governor to have the powers to do whatever he wants to do,” he said.

A grassroots group called Liberty Defense is looking for 100 candidates in the next 100 days, it was announced at the rally, to run for the statehouse next year, challenging Republican state representatives and senators in the May 2022 primary.

Sunday’s rally was organized by Dr. Dan Stock, a family health doctor with a practice in Fishers whose comments to the Mount Vernon, Indiana, school board opposing mask mandates went viral last month. It was held in the name of a foundation set up in the name of his parents – Cyril and Dorothea's Foundation for Medical Freedom.

In his speech, Stock questioned why the state is not taking the same measures for the common cold and influenza as it is for COVID-19.

“Why are we treating this differently? Because ladies and gentlemen, I’m a geek and I can’t explain it on the basis of anatomy, chemistry, physiology, or on anything other than the basis of money and power,” he said.

“I love being a family doctor more than anything else in the world,” he said. “This is a more fun to make my living this way than doing anything else and I can’t imagine getting up for anything else. But I can’t remember the memories of Cyril and Dorothea if I’m not willing to.”

He went on to say that if Indiana legislators do not vote to ban vaccine discrimination in the state this fall and vote to free doctors to give their patients the best advice, he will run for the Indiana General Assembly, challenging his representative or senator in the Republican primary. He also invited members of the crowd to either run themselves, or pick someone “who is willing to carry that mantle and give up the enjoyment of not being in government."

The Indiana House convened briefly Monday afternoon but did not take up the redistricting bill that had passed out of committee in the morning. Legislators return to the Statehouse on Wednesday, where the redistricting bill will be considered by the full House.