Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and over a dozen other Democratic lawmakers were arrested on Tuesday by U.S. Capitol Police for participating in an abortion rights protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to the Capitol Police, the protesters were breaking the law by blocking traffic and were given several warnings. When demonstrators did not heed the warnings and refused to leave the street, they began making arrests and eventually cleared the demonstration.
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 19, 2022
According to the department, 34 arrests were made for the local charge of Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding. The police also noted that 16 members of Congress were included in the arrest number. The lawmakers are expected to be released and fined.
UPDATE: We made a total of 34 arrests for Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding (DC Code § 22–1307).
That arrest number includes 16 Members of Congress.
— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) July 19, 2022
When reached for comment, the Capitol Police told The Daily Beast they would tweet out all the info on the arrests and encouraged “the press to reach out to a Member’s office for any comments about a Member of Congress.”
Outside of Ocasio-Cortez, who has been outspoken about protesting against the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that overturned the federal right to abortion, other progressive members of the so-called Squad were also detained by police following the demonstration.
— Lynese Wallace (@lynesewallace) July 19, 2022
A member of Rep. Cori Bush’s office posted a video of the Missouri lawmaker getting led away by police alongside Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
“St. Louis sent me to Congress to do everything in my power to protect our rights and improve our lives. That’s why I’m fighting with everything I’ve got for my community,” Bush later said in a statement, adding: “Today was not the first day I’ve put my body on the line for our freedom, and I’m willing to do it again. As I’ve said before, we need to be doing everything in our power to secure reproductive justice and access to abortion.”
Omar also shared a video of her arrest on Twitter, which she described as taking place “while participating in a civil disobedience action with” her fellow lawmakers.
“I will continue to do everything in my power to raise the alarm about the assault on our reproductive rights!” she added with an emoji of a raised fist.
“Civil disobedience has always been part of our history and fight for change. This moment and the fight for women’s and reproductive rights calls for it,” Tlaib declared in a statement. “The fight is far from over and we must push forward with bold action to protect and preserve our rights. We won’t back down.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s office also posted a video of the New York congresswoman being arrested and led away by law enforcement, noting that she was “protesting in support of abortion rights.”
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 19, 2022
Other arrested members of Congress, according to reporters on the scene, included Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), assistant House Speaker Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), among others.
The Center for Popular Democracy Action, which held the civil disobedience action alongside the lawmakers, noted that over 150 protesters took part in the demonstration.
“Today, the CPDA network and Democratic members of Congress sent a powerful message to Republican lawmakers and SCOTUS: we will not back down,” said CPDA Co-Executive Director Analilia Mejia said.
Protesters arrested outside the Supreme Court were taken to an outside containment unit nearby, which featured a green-bandana-clad Levin telling the press that the Senate filibuster should be abolished so that Roe v. Wade could be codified. (Green has become the color of the abortion rights movement.)
— Douglas Blair (@DouglasKBlair) July 19, 2022
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), another lawmaker who was arrested, told Axios after the protest that there “is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care.”
Speier, meanwhile, suggested that Democratic lawmakers could take part in additional demonstrations. “Stay tuned,” she said.