Jeff Shipley

A group of Iowans who oppose mandatory vaccination laws is rallying outside the Iowa Capitol today. State Representative Jeff Shipley, a Republican from Birmingham, supports the group’s cause.

“I’m not going to be governed with unsubstantiated health theories, let’s just start with that,” Shipley said, to cheers and applause.

Shipley suggested COVID-19 might be a botched chemical weapon developed in China. He accused the media, bureaucrats and politicians of presenting the public with unproven information about the virus.

“It doesn’t matter that this vaccine doesn’t exist. It’s probably impossible to develop a safe vaccine. It’s hardly going to work anyway and this virus isn’t even killing anybody,” Shipley said. “…Who knows, maybe our brothers and sisters in Black Lives Matter or Antifa, we’ve got to find a way to collaborate, but if there are some institutions that are disrespecting human dignity they’ve got to go.”

At 10 a.m. today, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website indicated 564 Iowans have died of COVID-19 this year.

Shipley said fellow members of the legislature wearing masks and face shields are “virtual signaling” rather than promoting the public health. And he questioned the pandemic-related closures and restrictions Governor Kim Reynolds ordered this spring, most of which have been lifted.

“If you didn’t stand up and demand your freedom, do you think Governor Reynolds would have respected it as much? No,” Shipley said. “The politicians need to hear from you.”

Other Republican lawmakers spoke at the rally, including Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton, Skyler Wheeler of Orange City and Steven Holt of Denison. Holt praised Reynolds for being more respectful of personal liberty than other governors.

“She did not issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders and she was far more reasonable in the manner in which she tried to deal with this crisis. I know that Governor Reynolds cherishes liberty and our constitution,” Holt says. “However, the fact remains that actions have been taken across the nation that have violated our most fundamental rights.”

Holt said the U.S. economy has been decimated and he called for the immediate restoration of law and order in the country. Today’s rally was livestreamed on the Facebook page of the “Informed Choice Iowa” group.