Hands Off My Health Care — and My Liberty!
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT held three days of oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — aka ObamaCare — from March 26–28, 2012. Arguably, not since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has a ruling by the High Court held such profound significance for the nation. And increasingly, as the American people learn more about ObamaCare, the less they like it. In fact, a significant portion of Americans now want the entire law to be repealed.
A recent Wall Street Journal article — entitled “Liberty and ObamaCare” — aptly asserts that the implementation of ObamaCare, in its expansive scope, will actually “change the structure of the American government as it has existed for 225 years.” The article summarizes:
“The stakes are much larger than one law or one President. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Supreme Court’s answers may constitute a hinge in the history of American liberty and limited and enumerated government.”
The exercise of First Amendment rights was on exuberant display during the three days on which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on ObamaCare. Citizens representing both sides of the issue showed up to raise their voices and their signs in support of their respective views.
First Stop — The U.S. Supreme Court
On the second day of oral arguments for ObamaCare, March 27, 2012, I traveled on a bus chartered by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), in order to document the demonstrations outside the U.S Supreme Court, as well as the AFP “Hands Off My Health Care” Rally held in nearby Upper Senate Park. Once our bus parked at Union Station around 11:15 a.m., I hoofed it to the Supreme Court building, about four blocks away, where a mixture of demonstrators was gathered.
I enjoyed moving through the diverse crowd and taking photos. Everyone was eager to have his photo taken. Opposing demonstrators moved fluidly through the crowd, chanting their respective rally cries for or against ObamaCare. Songs could be heard emanating from representatives of both sides at various times, including modified folk or rock songs, the national anthem or other patriotic songs. I even heard “Amazing Grace” at one point.
Television, radio and print journalists worked the crowd, gathering stories for their respective organizations. Politicians, businessmen, members of unions and other organizations also moved about, expressing their views on ObamaCare. The atmosphere was electric — and competitive — with members of each side feeling the importance of taking their stand against the opposition.
NOTE: In a number of the photo captions below, I’ve included comments by prominent individuals who spoke on a recent webcast titled “On Trial: Freedom vs. Government Healthcare” that was hosted by FRC Action, the legislative action arm of Family Research Council.
An ObamaCare opponent. ~ What if the Supreme Court does not strike down ObamaCare in its entirety? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) stated on a recent FRC Action webcast: “In this election this fall, all of our chips are on the line; and we have to have a president who will be committed to repeal ObamaCare. We have to have a Senate committed to repeal, and a House committed to repeal. Because there’s only one shot at this. The bill is fully implemented in 2014.”
ObamaCare opponents faced the Supreme Court with signs and flags in hand. ~ Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) stated recently on an FRC Action webcast: “The most sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to nationalize our soul. They did figure out how to nationalize investment banks, insurance companies, some car companies, and our skin and everything inside it. That’s ObamaCare. It’s the government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health.”
An ObamaCare opponent. ~ Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), who is also a physician, spoke on a recent FRC Action webcast about the plight of doctors under ObamaCare: “(Doctors’) level of frustration and concern and anger is at an all-time high; and it’s because they don’t believe that they now are able to advocate in a very positive way for their patients and have it be the result and outcome that the patient ought to have. They see this incredible … arm and reach of the government coming into — not just the front office, not just the billing office but into — the exam room, into the operating room and into the clinic room. And they’re so frustrated by what’s going on. And it will only get worse, if this (ObamaCare) is allowed to continue. We see day after day, the CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, come out with more rules and more proposals that will adversely affect what physicians can do for their patients, and it’s so terribly destructive.”
ObamaCare supporters. ~ Dr. David Stevens, CEO, Christian Medical and Dental Associations spoke recently on an FRC Action webcast: “What happened with ObamaCare was tremendous power was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services — without any protection for health-care providers — and what she may decide needs to be done. The contraceptive mandate is just one example of that.”
An ObamaCare supporter in the foreground. ~ Also interviewed on a recent FRC Action webcast was Dr. Sandy Christiansen, National Medical Advisor for Care Net, and also a woman: “For those who do see it (the contraceptive-abortifacient-sterilization mandate) as a women’s issue, I would challenge them and say, “OK, let’s hear from ALL the women….There are groups out there like WomenSpeakForThemselves.org…. Thousands of women have signed on there who do not share the values, and do not agree with what the President is trying to push through.”
ObamaCare supporters. ~ Again, Dr. David Stevens, CEO, Christian Medical and Dental Associations shared on the FRC Action webcast: “I think the thing that people need to understand is that we need health-care reform, but we got it wrong with what was done with ObamaCare. The biggest problem with health care is not access, and that’s what the ObamaCare bill was all about. The biggest problem in health care is cost. Fifty percent of (primary care physicians) think … (ObamaCare is) going to force them out of health care, or make them want to leave. Many of them think their salaries are going to be lowered. People are going to be telling them how to practice medicine. They’re going to be spending more and more time with bureaucracy and not getting the satisfaction of why they went into health care — to help people.”
Second Stop — Upper Senate Park
The anti-ObamaCare crowd eventually headed to Upper Senate Park, about two blocks from the Supreme Court, where the “Hands Off My Health Care” Rally began at 1:00 pm that afternoon. I made the decision to stick around a little longer at the Supreme Court, in order to photograph more demonstrators and other officials. When I finally arrived at the rally site, I was pleasantly surprised to see a rather large crowd gathered there. AFP has estimated the size at more than 4,000.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) hosted the “Hands Off My Health Care” Rally at Upper Senate Park, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol.
The rally speakers included: Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Ron Johnson, Sen. Pat Toomey, Rep. Michel Bachmann, Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Alan West.
Of course, I was a little disappointed that I would not be able to get close-ups of the speakers. However, my photos for this website are primarily about portraying everyday Americans demonstrating their love for the country. So I thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture the spirit and patriotism of the crowd.
Such a beautiful sight — Americans who love their country gathered together at the nation’s capital.
This sign presumably refers to one of the many powerful prerogatives given to the Health and Human Services Secretary under ObamaCare — the HHS contraceptive-abortifacient-sterilization mandate that is to be forced upon many faith-based organizations and employers, in violation of their religious or moral conscience. Such a mandate is in clear violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Officials of the Catholic Church and leaders of other faith-based groups have boldly stated that they will NOT comply with the HHS mandate.
The cost of ObamaCare has already doubled over initial estimates, and it hasn’t even gone into effect yet. We were also told that ObamaCare would create jobs, but the Congressional Budget Office is now saying that it will cost 800,000 jobs when it is put into place. Such a dire prediction even factors in the removal of $500 billion from Medicare, in order to supposedly pay for ObamaCare. Senior citizens, especially, have every reason to suspect that their health care will be adversely affected by ObamaCare.
Wave those flags! Make those phone calls! Write those emails! Let your voices be heard!
By golly, there’s another photographer!
And still more photographers!
Third Stop — Back to the Supreme Court
When the “Hands Off My Health Care” Rally at Upper Senate Park came to an upbeat end around 2:45 p.m., I headed back to the Supreme Court — and was followed by a pumped-up crowd of fellow anti-ObamaCare citizens, many of whom were wearing AFP’s bright red “Hands Off My Health Care” T-shirts. A renewed energy erupted at the foot of the Supreme Court steps. While there were never any serious threats from either side that I was aware of, there were indeed serious efforts to out-chant the other side! I loved it! Everyone seemed to be energized by standing up for what they believed and also, I suspect, from being part of such a historic week at the Supreme Court.
An ObamaCare opponent (left) “dialogued” with three ObamaCare supporters.
Fortunately, I found myself in the middle of a rather heated “dialogue” for about 15 minutes! In the case of the above photo, the gentleman on the right was highly offended by the “Dr. Barack Kevorkian” sign held by the man on the left, who happened to believe it appropriately represented the President’s policies and positions. There are more photos of this particular exchange in the photo gallery. (The link to the photo gallery is provided at the end of the article.)
More heated “dialogue” ensued between an ObamaCare opponent (left) and two ObamaCare supporters. The woman in the photo could remain silent only so long before unleashing her “heart-felt” expressions on the ObamaCare opponent, whose relative composure I was very much in awe of!
ObamaCare opponents, fresh from the “Hands Off My Health Care” Rally, gathered en masse, and with great enthusiasm, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
ObamaCare opponents. ~ Tony Perkins, President of FRC Action, stated during FRC Action’s recent webcast: “The Court must decide if we are a nation governed by law that recognizes our inalienable rights and freedoms, or if we’re a nation governed by a coercive, all-powerful federal government.”
ObamaCare opponents. ~ Regarding ObamaCare, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Attorney General, commented during an FRC Action webcast: “This really goes to the foundation. There has never been an instance of the federal government ordering citizens to buy a product under the guise of regulating commerce.”
These ObamaCare opponents were unashamedly pro-life.
An ObamaCare opponent in the foreground. ~ Regarding the Constitution, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recently stated on an FRC Action webcast: “This country is not only a republic; it’s a compound republic. It is a republic in terms of our federal government; all the states are republics; and there’s a tension between them. It’s supposed to be there. What us (sic) states are doing in this case — this is federalism in action. We are pushing back on a federal government that is trampling our Constitution. We have sued to protect the U.S. Constitution from the federal government, exactly as the Founders intended, in Federalist 45 to 51 — written by a Virginian, as I recall.”
Thank you to Americans for Prosperity for doing such a fabulous job of pulling off the many details required to help bring thousands of citizens to the Capital during the historic oral arguments for ObamaCare.
Lastly, I hope this article will help spur citizens to be as politically informed and engaged as ever in the coming months (and years). And just maybe I’ll be snapping a picture of you at some future rally! Onward! For the sake of life and liberty, friends!
Visit the Photo Gallery
To see MORE PHOTOS of the ObamaCare-inspired demonstrations and rally, please visit the Hands Off My Health Care Rally photo gallery.