Congresswoman Pressley Arrested for Peaceful Protest to Defend Abortion Rights

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Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and several of her colleagues were arrested on Tuesday outside the Supreme Court during a non-violent civil disobedience action in support of abortion rights.

“This Supreme Court has been relentless in stripping away our reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, but we’re not backing down," said Pressley in a statement after her arrest. "...we put our bodies on the line to defend abortion rights because the stakes in this fight could not be higher. 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."

[Pressley is arrested around the 32:18 mark in the video below]

Along with Pressley, fellow Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-7) was arrested, as was Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Jackie Speier (CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Cori Bush (MO), Andy Levin (MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Alma Adams (NC), Veronica Escobar (TX) and Carolyn Maloney (NY).

The protest included a march from the Capitol to the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police tweeted

At 1:20 p.m., the U.S. Capitol Police tweeted that it began arresting activists blocking First Street NE after police said they gave their traditional three warnings before taking protesters into custody, reported The Hill.

Pressley is a leading advocate for abortion access and she serves as Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force.

Before the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month Pressley led a group of Black women colleagues in writing to President Biden urging him to declare a public health emergency amid the unprecedented threats to abortion rights nationwide. She called on Biden to use every executive tool available to protect abortion access. Biden did issue a federal executive order to ensure all patients – including pregnant women and those experiencing pregnancy loss – have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law. That federal executive order supersedes state laws.

In her time in Congress, Pressley has fought persistently to protect fundamental reproductive and sexual health care rights.

  • Last year, Pressley, along with U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere.
  • In September 2021, Pressley participated in a House Oversight Committee hearing to examine the threat posed by abortion bans and underscored the urgency of the Senate passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.
  • In April 2021, Pressley and a group of 131 Democratic members reintroduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all people, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, can make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
  • As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Pressley has led the fight to repeal the Hyde Amendments from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills.
  • In May 2020, she led more than 155 members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.
  • In May 2019, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade.
  • In June 2019, Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription.
  • In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services.

“I’m grateful to all of the advocates on the frontlines 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," said Pressley.