The U. S. Capitol Police arrested 35 people, including 17 members of Congress, for "crowding, obstructing or incommoding" the intersection outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, during an abortion rights rally. U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Jackie Speier, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Katherine Clark, Andy Levin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alma Adams, Veronica Escobar, and Carolyn Maloney were among those arrested for blocking the traffic.
Why did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 16 members of Congress get arrested?
CUFFH Action, New York Communities for Change, CASA, Make the Road NY, CPD Action, and the Democratic Women's Caucus organized the peaceful sit-in taking place on First Street, NE, in Washington, D.C. in the early afternoon hours of Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Katherine Clark, Madeleine Dean, Carolyn B. Maloney, Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, and Nydia Velázquez were arrested alongside AOC and 18 others.
"That's why we are here. We have to move with urgency. Continue to organize, continue to mobilize, and continue to be distractive. They are trying to roll back the hands of time," U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said.
"And I think what today is also about is that the actions going to change this are going to take an all of the above approach," U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. "We are going to have to commit to legislative action, we are going to have to push the White House, we are going to have to be on the streets, we are going to have to get arrested. We are going to need massive movement. It's all of it. And none of it is going to happen unless all of us are in this fight."
The action marks the latest in a series of events that pro-abortion groups describe as the "summer of rage."
"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!" U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar tweeted after her arrest.
Hundreds of demonstrations took place since the SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. President Joe Biden's proposal to sidestep the filibuster to make abortion a legal right was met with objections by U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin in early July 2022.
The U. S. House of Representatives passed the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022, the bill protecting the right to travel for abortion, on Friday, July 15, 2022. A group of Republicans made the headlines on Thursday, July 14, 2022, by blocking the bill. One Senator said the bill would promote "abortion tourism,” assisting "fly-in abortionists," per the Guardian.
The Women’s Health Protection Act and Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, which protects access to essential health care services, was passed the same day.