Pennsylvania Republican Darul Metcalfe rejects face mask rule amid coronavirus pandemic: 'My body, my choice'
The lawmaker emphasized that those advocating that citizens be required to wear masks are 'the same people who support freedom of abortion on demand'
GOP lawmaker Daryl Metcalfe, serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, on Tuesday, June 23, suggested that the slogan "my body, my choice" also applies to wearing face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. The lawmaker made the statement while denouncing the precautionary measures enforced in the state due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which includes wearing a face mask.
Metcalfe made his remarks shortly after measures were placed enforcing all those entering businesses within Pennsylvania to wearing masks unless they have a medical reason not to. The Republican, a representative of Butler Country, while speaking at the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meeting on Tuesday, talked about his service in the military where he had to complete exercises wearing masks.
The Republican said: "During training exercises we were required to put on our protective masks and we were not allowed to remove them until we were told. Those who serve and those of us who served in the military gave up some of our rights to defend yours, gave up some of our freedom to protect yours." He then proceeded to target the mandate of wearing masks and made a reference to pro-choice abortion rights, reports state.
"Many who are advocating that citizens be required to wear masks are from the 'my body, my choice crowd' who support abortion on demand," the lawmaker said, according to Newsweek. Metcalfe then explained that according to him the particular slogan does not apply to abortion, but instead applies to the use of facemasks amid the pandemic.
"Let me be clear that neither the governor, BMC or any level of government has the authority to force citizens to wear face masks. Wearing a mask in this committee meeting remains the choice of the individual. Your body, your choice," he added.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, in a press release on Tuesday, had stated that "mask-wearing is a vital measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19," and had stressed that wearing protective masks had to be part of everyone's daily routines.
"Mask-wearing needs to be a part of our everyday routines," the governor said. "When you leave the house, grab your keys, your wallet and your mask. Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus and keeping Pennsylvanians safe and healthy is the goal as we reopen and continue our mitigation efforts."
Wolf said that the rules of wearing masks were outlined in an order from Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary of health for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also advocates wearing cloth face coverings in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The health agency stated that wearing masks may protect those wearing them from infecting others, especially if they were asymptomatic.
The state of Pennsylvania so far has 80,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, while the United States in total has reported more than 2.3 million cases, Johns Hopkins University data, while over 121,000 people have succumbed to the deadly virus.