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Democrats vow to fight back after anti-abortion protest arrests

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of several Democrats arrested while protesting the reversal of Roe v Wade (Screenshot via YouTube)

Members of Congress arrested at a pro-choice rally have vowed that they won't back down in fighting for freedom, writes Jessica Corbett.

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.

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in a statement:

‘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.

 

Our reproductive rights are under assault across the country, thanks to an extremist court with little regard for precedent or our basic rights. 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 Centre for Popular Democracy Action, said:

“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 Representatives

“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:

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. 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:

‘Even though they arrested us, we won't stop our organising, 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 Governor 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, Governor 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:

‘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, Representative Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) noted that 17 July 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:

‘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 Senator 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. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back.’

This article by Jessica Corbett was originally published on Common Dreams, under the title, ‘“Good Trouble”: 17 House Democrats Arrested Protesting Roe Reversal at Supreme Court’. It has been republished under a Creative Commons licence.

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