“Even though they arrested us, we won’t stop our organizing, agitating, and legislating for justice,” declared Rep. Cori Bush.
By Jessica Corbett Published 7-19-2022 by Common Dreams
Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Cori Bush/Twitter
Several members of Congress were among the demonstrators arrested outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday while protesting right-wing justices’ recent ruling against the constitutional right to abortion.
“Today I was arrested in a civil disobedience action at the Supreme Court to protest Roe v. Wade getting overturned and the assault on reproductive rights across the country,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in a statement.
“Our reproductive rights are under assault across the country, thanks to an extremist court with little regard for precedent or our basic rights,” she added. “I will do whatever it takes, including putting my body on the line, to protect our reproductive rights.”
Analilia Mejia, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, said that “today, the CPDA network and Democratic members of Congress sent a powerful message to Republican lawmakers and SCOTUS: We will not back down.”
U.S. Capitol Police confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that officers arrested 35 people, including 17 members of Congress, for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.”
Others arrested include Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).
“This Supreme Court has been relentless in stripping away our reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, but we’re not backing down,” said Pressley. “Today, we put our bodies on the line to defend abortion rights because the stakes in this fight could not be higher.”
Pressley noted that “due to the cruelty and callousness of this court, millions of people now face insurmountable barriers to abortion care and the health of our most vulnerable—especially our Black, Brown, low-income, disabled, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ siblings—is now further at risk.”
“I’m grateful to all of the advocates on the frontline of this fight who led us in peaceful protest today and have been leading this movement for generations,” she added. “Abortion rights are human rights, and we won’t stop fighting until our policies and budgets reflect that fundamental truth.”
Chants at the demonstration included “shut it down,” referring to the high court, and: “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!”
Lawmakers and others in the road were warned, “Cease and desist or you will be arrested.”
Bush—who on Monday introduced legislation to boost access to medication abortion—shared a photo of fellow “Squad” members at the demonstration and vowed that “even though they arrested us, we won’t stop our organizing, agitating, and legislating for justice.”
Some of the participants invoked the words of the late John Lewis. The civil rights leader who became a Democratic congressman and represented Georgia for over three decades famously encouraged getting into “good trouble” when fighting against injustices.
Referencing anti-choice legislation recently enacted by GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican state legislators, Escobar said:
Protesting injustice in our country is as old as our democracy itself; it is a cornerstone of our history, a principle of our nation, and a faithful mechanism for the will of the people to be heard. That is why, in the face of unprecedented attacks on abortion access and reproductive justice, like the draconian laws and anti-woman agenda we are seeing from the Texas state Legislature, Gov. Abbott, and the Supreme Court, I joined several of my colleagues in front of the highest court in the land to make good trouble.
My arrest today for civil disobedience was a small act in the centuries-long battle to ensure every woman has the freedom to make personal decisions with those they love and trust without politicians trying to control them. We stand on the shoulders of giants whose struggle against injustices everywhere lights the way forward: The fight didn’t start here, and it’s far from over.
Levin, the only male lawmaker arrested, tweeted that “I’m always down to stir up #GoodTrouble and fight for our rights. We cannot give in to this extremist, right-wing court. I’m angry and ready for ACTION!”
In a recent opinion piece for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) noted that July 17 marked the two-year anniversary of Lewis’ death. The congresswoman suggested that if her “friend, mentor, and predecessor” were still alive, “he would be moved to act, like he did throughout his entire life,” in response to “the Supreme Court’s cruel and damaging decision to strip more than half the country of their right to access abortion.”
Watson Coleman pointed out that “on Friday, Democrats in the House passed legislation to protect the right to choose.”
Although House Democrats approved the Women’s Health Protection Act and Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, neither bill is expected to get through the Senate due to the filibuster rule and obstruction by the GOP as well as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Maloney highlighted that while overturning Roe was a longtime ambition of Republicans in U.S. politics, they are not likely to stop there.
“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,” she said. “Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back.”
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