More than a dozen Democratic members of Congress were among those arrested by Capitol Police on Tuesday afternoon as part of an abortion rights protest in front of the Supreme Court.
Wearing specially made green bandanas with "Won't Back Down," they marched from the Capitol to the Court, which has been fenced off for weeks, since shortly after the leak of the draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Within two minutes of their arrival, police began ordering them to "cease and desist." Instead, they sat on the street, and were one by one led off by officers as they chanted, "The people, united, will never be divided."
The US Capitol Police tweeted: "Demonstrators are starting to block First Street, NE. It is against the law to block traffic, so officers are going to give our standard three warnings before they start making arrests."
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Rep. Jackie Speier released a statement after her arrest where she quoted civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis, saying, "I have never been arrested before, but I can hear the late, great Congressman John Lewis imploring me to 'make some noise and get in good trouble.'"
"We must be willing to speak out for patients who have the right to basic health care, and the fundamental right to bodily autonomy. We must take a stand for the women and girls, including 10-year-old rape victims, who are being denied care and are forced to flee their home states because extremists that have taken over the Supreme Court are pushing a religious, political, and personal agenda. We must continue to speak out and be arrested so that people of color and poor patients, who are the most impacted by this draconian and misogynistic decision, aren't left to bleed out from common complications that medical providers are too scared to treat because of the threat of litigation, not to mention death threats to them and their families. Women, girls, LGTBQ+ people, families, and more are counting on us to fight back now and every day until the Dobbs decision is relegated to the dustbin of history where it belongs."
Rep. Barbara Lee issued a statement as well where she condemned the extreme Republican agenda saying it is trying to take away personal freedoms.
"We protested outside the Supreme Court in defense of the millions of Americans who have had their rights stripped away by inhumane conservative policies. We must make clear: overturning Roe is NOT the will of the people. It is part of an extreme Republican agenda to take away personal freedoms-from abortion to contraception to marriage equality. We cannot sit silently as they continue to attack our most basic rights. Being arrested for civil disobedience today was an act of solidarity with all who are feeling the impact of this injustice across this country. I am committed to continuing this fight: in Congress, in the streets, and at the ballot box."
Capitol Police later said they had arrested 34 people total, including 16 members of Congress.
Among those arrested:
- Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts
- Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
- Barbara Lee of California
- Jackie Speier of California
- Sara Jacobs of California
- Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
- Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey
- Andy Levin of Michigan
- Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
- Jan Schakowsky of Illinois
- Madeline Dean of Pennsylvania
- Cori Bush of Missouri
- Carolyn Maloney of New York
- Nydia Velazquez of New York
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
- Alma Adams of North Carolina
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