The Independent Women’s Forum – a right-wing non-profit organization that advances conservative causes – has thrust itself into the movement against mask mandates in schools in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. On Friday, a leaked internal email that was obtained by The Washington Post revealed how the group intends to promote its message – and, consequently, hasten the spread of the coronavirus.
“The letter was made available on Tuesday to paying members of the Independent Women’s Network, a project of the Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice that markets itself as a ‘members-only platform that is free from censorship and cancellation.’ Both are nonprofits once touted by their board chairman and CEO, Heather Higgins, as part of a unique tool in the ‘Republican conservative arsenal’ because, ‘Being branded as neutral but actually having the people who know, know that you’re actually conservative puts us in a unique position,” wrote the Post.
“The group decided to circulate the letter ‘to empower people to have a kind, civil conversation,'” IMF President Carrie Lukas said in an interview, stopping short of assuring its readers that its opposition to school mandates is rooted in scientific truth.
The email itself contained several ill-informed and medically unproven steps that the IMF intends on taking to fight mask mandates, ranging from why its members believe that they are unnecessary to reasons that they believe requiring students to wear masks harms them:
It’s a great blessing that COVID doesn’t pose as serious a health risk to children as it does to adults. Critically, young kids do not significantly spread COVID either.
We do not yet know enough about the potential downside of mask-wearing for young children.
The rest of the world (outside of the U.S.) seems to understand that masks on kids are not a good idea.
Every one of these rationalizations “flies in the face of recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose positions stress the need to account for more dangerous strains of the virus and to protect people too young to receive shots still only authorized for those 12 and older,” the Post noted. “A pair of CDC studies published last month found that schools with mask requirements saw fewer outbreaks than those without them, and that pediatric cases rose faster in counties where schools had made masking a matter of personal choice.”
The third rationale, however, is especially dubious because it is based on data from the World Health Organization that was made public on August 21st, 2020, several months before the devastating emergence of the highly virulent Delta variant.
The Post also pointed out that “most parents of school-age children support requiring masks, polling suggests. More than six in 10 parents say their child’s school should make masks obligatory, at least for unvaccinated students and staff, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released in August” of 2021.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.