Over a dozen members of Congress were arrested on Tuesday protesting Roe v. Wade being overturned, the 1973 Supreme Court that protected abortion nationwide.
Since then, thousands have taken to the streets to protest the decision and demonstrate in support of reproductive rights. Simultaneously, stories of raped children crossing state lines to get an abortion and people nearly dying from ectopic pregnancies have come out of states that preemptively outlawed or greatly restricted abortion prior to Roe being overturned.
Today, Democratic members of Congress joined the protesters’ ranks.
The representatives were arrested by United States Capitol Police for blocking traffic outside the Supreme Court during a demonstration for reproductive freedom.
Capitol Police confirmed arrests for “Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding” in a tweet.
CNN reports that roughly two dozen members of Congress joined today’s protest in Washington, D.C.
Representatives arrested by police today reportedly include Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and numerous others, all of whom are Democrats. Only one reportedly arrested as of this writing is male: Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.).
Video shows the group marching in front of the Supreme Court prior to their arrest, chanting, “We won’t go back.”
The arrest appears to have been preplanned—or at least anticipated—and designed to draw attention to the fight for reproductive rights.
Videos show that the mood among the representatives was jovial, even as they were corralled by police. While detained, they posed for a group selfie, chanting, “Our bodies, our choice!”
Many of the representatives published statements during or immediately after their arrests.
Assistant Speaker Clark tweeted, “The extremist Republicans are determined to take us back in time and take away our rights. They can arrest me, but we won’t allow them to arrest freedom.”
“This is the time to stand up, speak out, and not shy away when seeking justice and equality,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) tweeted of her arrest.
Reactions to the arrests varied widely. Some cheered the representatives for drawing attention to the fight for reproductive rights and blasted the Supreme Court.
“Multiple elected members of Congress arrested for saying the unelected council of 9 lifetime appointees shouldn’t get to hand down rulings that kill people,” @JoshuaPotash tweeted. “Most democratic country on earth.”
Others expressed disgust at what they view as a publicity stunt.
“Silly me, sitting here on my computer at work. I shoulda been a Democratic member of Congress, then I could performatively rage at a protest in the middle of the week and then get fake arrested so I could up my leftist street cred,” commented one.
Many critics focused on conservatives’ favorite liberal villains, such as Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, who got roasted on social media for what they thought was the congresswomen pretending to be handcuffed.
“Why is she holding her hands behind her back like she’s handcuffed when she’s very clearly not?” @dhookstead wondered of Ocasio-Cortez.
@taradublinrocks retorted, “I guess you missed the part where she raised her fist because you were too busy looking at her ass.”