On Wednesday, in response to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s mandate forcing all health care workers to be inoculated by August 27, healthcare workers from across the state protested in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Artesia.
“Taking away people’s choice and informed consent violates all medical codes of ethics, as well as the most fundamental of human rights, the Constitution, and the Nuremberg Code. No government or institution can know what is best for any other human being’s medical choices. People have diverse healthcare needs, and one-size-fits-all medical solutions are not appropriate,” read a press release from New Mexico Freedoms Alliance (NMFA).
NMFA’s Melanie Rubin said, “In the last 20 months, healthcare workers have stood by all of us through the most painful and frightening days of our lives. They have treated everyone without bias or discrimination, regardless of each individual’s personal and medical beliefs, often at great physical, emotional and financial cost to themselves and their families. They care for every patient no matter what, honoring each patient’s bodily autonomy and choices.”
The largest crowd to protest the forcible jabs was at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque, with hundreds in attendance, possibly even 1,000.
“As a vaccinated nurse, I stand beside my fellow healthcare workers who deserve the right to choose their own medical treatments. We are taught our entire nursing careers about bodily autonomy and advocating for our patients. We advocate for informed consent, instructing patients on all the risks they take and possible outcomes. Yet, we are not given that same respect for this vaccine,” said Jennifer De La Paz, a nurse from Three Crosses Hospital in Las Cruces.
“In a state that is already crippled by staffing shortages, this mandate is only going to make it worse. Continuity of care is important for our patients and bringing in travel nurses to fill these shortages does not provide for that continuity of care. We live in these communities, we are dedicated to our communities and this mandate will force staff to go elsewhere out of state or even leave their professions [altogether]. I know that hospitals in Las Cruces are unable to fully open all their beds already because of the nursing shortage. This is not fair for the patients or for the staff.”
At the Las Cruces event, many were in attendance as well, with signs reading things like “No Forced Medical Procedures” and “No Jabs 4 Jobs.” Many held similar signs at the Artesia protest.
Another press release from the New Mexico Freedoms Alliance noted that nurses and medical staff at hospitals were doing a “mass call out” on Wednesday and Thursday. The workers will be calling out “in compliance with their organization’s regulations, to demonstrate solidarity against the vaccine mandates for healthcare workers.”
The press release makes clear, “This is not a strike; the workers will be available to serve their communities on Friday. However, this is a demonstration of what will potentially happen to the healthcare system if the rule-makers do not rescind the vaccine mandate, and thereby force many healthcare workers to leave their jobs. The last thing healthcare workers want is to be forced to leave their patients with inadequate staffing coverage.”
Additionally, a cease and desist against the vaccine mandates was served to healthcare administrators around the state, including Presbyterian, Lovelace, and UNM Hospital in Albuquerque, Memorial Medical Center, Three Crosses Hospital, and Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces, and Artesia General Hospital in Artesia.
The Cease-and-Desist letter, signed by Attorney Jonathan Diener of New Mexico Stands Up!, calls for an immediate reversal of the vaccine mandate by the healthcare administrators. It notifies the administrators that the vaccine mandate imposed by Governor Lujan Grisham is illegal under federal law, and identifies the statutes. Both the healthcare administrators and the individuals who impose the vaccine mandate can be held legally liable if they choose to move forward with the mandate.
Another letter was also sent to these health care facilities from health care workers pleading with them to stop the forced inoculations. Part of the letter reads:
“We have shown up every day for the last 20 months to YOUR organizations to provide care for OUR patients and to advocate for their care; now it’s time we advocate for ourselves. YOUR organizations remained open because WE showed up to work. WE showed up and REUSED PPE, WE showed up and held your loved one’s hands while they passed, held iPads for last goodbyes and worked multiple overtime shifts. Our vaccination
status did not matter then. Many of us contracted COVID and have already developed robust natural immunity.”