Democrats including Pressley, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib arrested at abortion rights rally outside Supreme Court
Multiple Democratic lawmakers were arrested at an abortion rights rally near the Capitol on Tuesday, less than one month after the Supreme Court issued a ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade.
Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Katherine Clark (Mass.), Andy Levin (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Alma Adams (N.C.), Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) were among those apprehended at the demonstration, which included a march from the Capitol to the Supreme Court.
At 1:20 p.m., the U.S. Capitol Police wrote on Twitter that it began arresting activists blocking First Street NE. Authorities said they gave their traditional three warnings before taking protesters into custody.
As of 1:35 p.m. the demonstration was clear, according to Capitol Police, which reported that 17 lawmakers were arrested in total. Authorities arrested 35 people overall for crowding, obstructing or incommoding.
The demonstration came more than three weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, the 1973 decision that protected access to abortion. The ruling angered Democrats nationwide and prompted House Democrats to pass a pair of bills protecting access to abortion; those measures face little chance of clearing the 50-50 Senate.
Maloney in a statement on Tuesday said “There is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care.”
“The Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back,” she added.
In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Pressley said the congresswoman participated in a protest against the “cruel and callous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip away abortion rights for everyone who calls America home.”
Grassroots advocates were also present at the demonstration, according to Pressley’s spokesperson.
Speier wrote on Twitter that she was “Proud” to march with her Democratic colleagues “and get arrested for women’s rights, abortion rights, the rights for people to control their own bodies and the future of our democracy!”
Escobar tweeted that she was taken into custody in front of the Supreme Court, adding that she was “proudly standing in defense of abortion access and reproductive freedom.”
She also posted a video of her and other House Democrats marching outside the Capitol chanting “we won’t go back.”
Clark, the assistant Speaker of the House, in a statement said “The extremist Republican Party is determined to take us back in time and take away our rights. I refuse to stand on the sidelines as their rampage continues.”
“They can arrest me, but we won’t allow them to arrest freedom,” she added.
Levin wrote on Twitter Tuesday “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to protect abortion rights—even if it means getting arrested.”
“I joined my Democratic Women’s Caucus colleagues in a civil disobedience action outside the Supreme Court. We won’t go back!” he added.
Tuesday’s demonstration was not the first time lawmakers have been arrested at protests following the Roe decision. Last month, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) was taken into custody at a pro-abortion rights rally on Capitol grounds.
—Updated at 4:37 p.m.