Jun 30, 2022 - Health

Rep. Chu arrested alongside over 180 activists at abortion rights rally

Photo of a U.S. Capitol Police officer holding Judy Chu's arm as Chu and another protester walk arm in arm
California Rep. Judy Chu (center), accompanied by NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju (left), is detained by U.S. Capitol Police during an abortion rights protest in Washington, D.C. on June 30, 2022. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Rep. Judy Chu (D) was arrested Thursday alongside over 180 people at an abortion rights rally on Capitol grounds.

Why it matters: The peaceful demonstration was one of dozens that broke out across the country following the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • Marching to the Supreme Court on Thursday, protesters chanted slogans including: "We won't go back, we won't go back, our human rights are under attack."
  • After they sat down on the corner of a street crossing in what they described as an act of civil disobedience, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers issued three verbal warnings before arresting them for illegally blocking the intersection, according to USCP.

What she's saying: "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," Chu said in a statement after her arrest. 

  • "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," she added. "We are in this together and we will not back down or be silenced."
  • "I am ramping up my calls to abolish the Senate filibuster — and actively exploring every option to ensure we pass my bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which establishes a federal right to abortion care, and have it signed into law. Lives are at stake and this fight is far from over."

The big picture: After the Supreme Court decision was handed down last week, Chu called it the "culmination of decades of extremist anti-abortion strategy."

  • The Chinese American Congress member has repeatedly spoken about how the Supreme Court ruling will disproportionately impact AAPIs, who face language, economic and legal barriers to abortion care, as well as communities of color at large.
  • Democrats have previously attempted and failed to pass legislation to protect abortion rights on the federal level, and while they have a 50-vote majority in the Senate, such a bill cannot pass unless they change filibuster rules, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez writes.
  • President Biden said Thursday he would support changes to the filibuster in order to pass a federal law to codify Roe.

What we're watching: Abortion rights advocates are turning to legal battles in bids to block states' abortion bans.

Go deeper: Democrats bet on Roe's ballot power

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