“When I first heard Roe was overturned, I immediately thought of who would be most harmed by this decision: a young girl who is a survivor of rape, a woman who cannot afford to travel to another state to access critical care, an expecting mother with an ectopic pregnancy whose life is in danger because she cannot have an abortion,” the Democratic congresswoman said in a statement Thursday. “So, when I think of all these women — and more — the decision to join in a peaceful demonstration to make clear we will not allow the clock to be rolled back on abortion rights was easy.”
Thursday’s protest joins a number of demonstrations across the nation in recent days in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. The ruling last week ended a person’s federally protected right to an abortion, leaving the matter to the states.
Abortion rights protesters on Thursday marched to the US Supreme Court, holding signs, singing and chanting slogans, including: “We won’t go back, we won’t go back, our human rights are under attack.”
The group collectively sat down on the corner of Constitution Ave. NE and First St. NE, just a few feet from the Supreme Court and US Capitol grounds in what organizers said was an act of civil disobedience. The protesters faced several verbal warnings from US Capitol Police officers telling them the gathering was illegal, before several of them were arrested.
“We arrested 181 people for Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding (DC Code § 22–1307) for blocking the intersection of Constitution Avenue, NE and First Street, NE,” the US Capitol Police tweeted.
President Joe Biden said earlier Thursday that he would support making an exception to the Senate filibuster — the 60-vote threshold in the chamber needed to pass most legislation — in order to codify abortion rights and the right to privacy through legislation passed by Congress , but the chances face an uphill battle.
Chu said that she is ramping up her calls to abolish the filibuster and pushing to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which she sponsored and passed in the House of Representatives last year, but was blocked Senate Republicans in February with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting with Republicans in opposition.
“Lives are at stake and this fight is far from over,” the congresswoman said.