A number of Democratic representatives — including members of "the Squad" and House leadership — were arrested outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon for protesting the recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Katherine Clark, D-Mass., were among those arrested for blocking traffic. Clark serves as the assistant speaker, the No. 4 position in Democratic leadership.
“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,” Clark said in a statement following her arrest. “I am furious and heartbroken, and I will proudly fight for our right to abortion and all of our Constitutional rights. They can arrest me, but we won’t allow them to arrest freedom.”
The Capitol Police said they had arrested 35 people, including 17 members of Congress, for "Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding." Law enforcement officials said they had “already given our standard three warnings. Some of the demonstrators are refusing to get out of the street, so we are starting to make arrests.”
While the Democratically controlled House passed legislation last week that would protect the right to an abortion, it is set to die in the Senate. The June 24 decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade has resulted in millions of Americans losing their access to abortion and delaying lifesaving pregnancy care for other women.
The press secretary for Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., another member of the Squad, tweeted a video of the second-term congresswoman being escorted away by police, adding that she was “arrested protesting on the steps of the Supreme Court for abortion rights.” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., another member, tweeted a video of the arrests.
Today I was arrested while participating in a civil disobedience action with my fellow Members of Congress outside the Supreme Court.
I will continue to do everything in my power to raise the alarm about the assault on our reproductive rights! ✊🏽pic.twitter.com/rpFYOGBDf4
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 19, 2022
Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Cori Bush of Missouri, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Jackie Speier of California, Carolyn Maloney of New York, Veronica Escobar of Texas, Sara Jacobs of California, Alma Adams of North Carolina, Bonnie Watson of New Jersey, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Andy Levin of Michigan were among the other legislators arrested.
“One has a moral responsibility to push back against unjust laws,” Lee commented on her official Twitter account. “Today, I am standing up for reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy in solidarity with the millions who have had their rights stripped away by inhumane policies.”
“I introduced legislation yesterday and today to protect reproductive freedom,” wrote Bush on Twitter. “Today my colleagues and I put our bodies on the line — because we will leave no stone unturned in our fight for justice. Bans off our bodies.”
Last month, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., was arrested outside the Supreme Court for protesting. In July 2021, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested at the Hart Senate Office Building for protesting in favor of voting rights legislation.