Members of the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood burned the American flag in public protest of the recent passing of a state bill banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
An activist wearing the mask of the state’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee lit the flag on fire in the back of a pickup truck and placed it in a trash can while others who appear to be in Handmaid’s Tale costumes chanted and looked on before extinguishing the fire.
One member, who was dressed as Lady Liberty, then waved a new white-and-red striped flag, distinguishable from the American flag by its lack of stars. She announced that the destruction of the old would lead to the creation of a “new world order.” She then led a chant, asking, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.” A 200-car caravan audience echoed her sentiments.
Gov. Bill Lee has disrespected our constitution and practically lit the flag on fire by banning abortion.
But we won’t stop until we live in a new America that respects the rights of pregnant people. Full stop. pic.twitter.com/yhGT1HQacp
— Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood (@TNAdvocatesPP) June 25, 2020
The event took place outside Lee’s residence. The state house passed his bill June 19, and since Lee introduced the legislation, he is expected to sign it into law soon.
While it outlaws abortions after the detection of a heartbeat, which is typically around six weeks, it exempts mothers who are at risk for health complications. It also prevents abortions on the basis of a baby’s race, sex, or disability diagnosis. An ultrasound will be required prior to every abortion to ensure a heartbeat cannot be detected.
“One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn,” Lee said. “We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state’s history.”
Planned Parenthood joined the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights in filing a lawsuit against the bill in federal court in Nashville only hours after its passing.
Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, announced after the bill passed that the law takes advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and disproportionately affects black Tennesseans.
“This opportunistic attack on our reproductive rights, passed in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness, will disproportionately impact Black Tennesseans due to systemic oppression and concerted efforts to stifle their most basic rights and freedoms,” Johnson said. “We won’t stand for this, and we are going to do everything possible to fight back against this extremely harmful law.”
With protests over racial injustice emerging nationwide within the last month in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Republican Senate candidate Bill Hagerty said this flag-burning demonstration is just another example of far-left radicalism. The liberal mob, he said, has now officially arrived in Tennessee.
“This behavior disrespects America and those who have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our precious freedom,” he said. “What we need now, more than ever, is law and order.”