BIG BEND – Vice President Kamala Harris visited Wisconsin for the fifth time since being sworn in on Monday, January 22, and her visit was met by two groups of protestors with completely opposing viewpoints – both directing their complaints towards the VP.
A protest organized by Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine brought dozens of people chanting and waving Palestinian flags to the intersection of National Ave. and Enterprise Dr.
Dozens of pro-life protestors holding signs were standing directly opposite them, with both groups lining the route the Vice President’s motorcade took to arrive at her event at IUPAT District Council 7.
The @VP’s visit drew two groups of protestors – a pro-Palestinian group angry over the administration’s policy on Israel, and a pro-life cohort angry with their stance on abortion.— Wyatt Barmore-Pooley (@wyattbpvoice) January 22, 2024
Reps of both groups tell me the goal wasn’t a counter-protest – they’re both focused on VP Harris pic.twitter.com/SZPY71o9ks
Chair of Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee Lauren Forbush told WTMJ they consider the war in Gaza a reproductive rights issue as well.
“It’s extremely hypocritical to be calling for reproductive freedom for Americans when the Biden administration has had ample opportunities to codify abortion rights, to fund our communities, and uplift the infrastructure that is needed for reproductive healthcare and healthcare in general for Americans,” Forbush said. “But instead they are sending billions of dollars without Congress approval to Israel to carpet-bomb Gaza and ruin the healthcare and general infrastructure of Gaza.”
Forbush said she and other organizers were at the protests when President Joe Biden visited Milwaukee in December, and she saw a difference in how the protests were handled this time around.
“There’s a reason that they put Kamala in the middle of nowhere, because they knew Milwaukee would show up. They knew we would show up and protest and call for a ceasefire,” she said.
While there was some yelling back and forth – and clear ideological disagreements on reproductive rights between the groups – Simply Pro Life president Hope Miller told WTMJ it was actually a coincidence that the two groups of protestors ended up facing off on Monday.
“I wasn’t here to counter-protest anyone besides Kamala,” Miller said. “She’s the one who needs to understand that reproductive rights don’t include the killing of an unborn child.”
Miller traveled from Illinois to Big Bend for the protest, where she was joined by field representative for Turning Point Action Briana Arnold, who was there on behalf of pro-life organizations in Wisconsin.
“We’re not giving up in Wisconsin – the fight is just beginning,” Arnold said. “Conservatives, pro-life Christians, we all have a voice and we have rights and we have freedoms that we are continuing to be here and making a stand for.”
Both Arnold and Forbush said that this event wasn’t their only focus today, with both Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee and pro-life organizations like Wisconsin Right to Life sending people to Madison to testify at a public hearing on the new 14-week abortion ban introduced by Republicans in the state legislature on Friday.
“While we are here today, we are also in Madison testifying against that bill,” Forbush said.
Both sides told WTMJ that the split in focus was necessary given how important it was to make sure their views were heard in both places.
“There’s people fighting for our legislation down in Madison and then we have groups here that are just having that stance, having that presence known that Wisconsin, we value life, life is precious” Arnold said.
Vice President Harris left Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport for Washington, D.C. this afternoon. The White House also announced that President Joe Biden will also visit Wisconsin this week, bringing his Bidenomics agenda to Superior.