‘This neighborhood trusts women’: Mike Pence faces pro-choice protest from new neighbors in DC
Residents in the predominantly democratic town of Chevy Chase, D.C. are relying on a classic method of protest to express displeasure with their newest neighbor, Vice-president elect Mike Pence: lawn signs.
Pence and his family recently rented a 5-bedroom house in Chevy Chase, an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., where over 71 percent of voters identify as Democrats, DCist reports. In recent days, residents have erected signs declaring “This Neighborhood Trusts Women,” including one that sits across from the vice president-elect’s home. The signs are from the abortion rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
— NARAL (@NARAL) December 22, 2016
NARAL’s communications director Kaylie Hanson Long told DCist the group started the campaign to make “sure that Mike Pence knew just how off base he was with the majority of Americans when it comes to abortion access.”
“The best way to let him know that is to go literally right to his door step and tell him,” Hanson Long added.
According to the D.C. Board of Elections, Only 6.5 percent of voters in Pence’s new precinct voted for Donald Trump. NARAL debut field organizer Anne Bailey said Chevy Chase residents were more than enthusiastic about displaying the pro-choice signs.
“They were glad to have a way to show their resistance to the anti-choice and anti-woman agenda,” Bailey said.
As governor of Indiana, Pence was one of the most extreme anti-abortion leaders in the country. In March, he signed a controversial anti-abortion law banning abortion sought because the fetus has been diagnosed with disability; it also included a requirement for pregnant women to view the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat prior to obtaining an abortion. A federal judge blocked the law.
Pence’s principal, Donald Trump has similarly espoused anti-choice rhetoric, promising to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court and suggesting abortion rights to should be returned to the states. In March, the president-elect declared there must be “some form of punishment” for women if abortion becomes illegal. He later walked back that argument, insisting instead that health care providers would be punished, while women would “punish themselves” for their reproductive choices.
“It’s not just Chevy Chase,” Bailey told DCist. “It’s part of a nationwide effort to channel the energies of our members, new and old, to make sure [the administration] knows their anti-choice actions stand in direct opposition to what the majority of Americans want.”
NARAL signs are not the only forms of protest Chevy Chase residents are directing towards their new neighbor. The Northwest Washington street was recently decked out in rainbow flags, a clear statement against Pence’s hard-line stance on gay rights.
— Boing Boing (@BoingBoing) December 5, 2016
Ilse Heintzen told WJLA the flags were meant as “a respectful message showing, in my case, my disagreement with some of [Pence’s] thinking.”
“I have no idea what he will think about, but I hope he will change his mind,” Heintzen said.