(KRON) — California Rep. Jacquie Speier was arrested Tuesday along with Rep. Barbara Lee and 33 others, including 15 other Members of Congress. The group was participating in a reproductive rights rally, and they were arrested for blocking traffic in front of the US Capitol Tuesday afternoon, according to a press release from U.S. Capitol Police.
The group was reportedly blocking First Street Northeast, not far from the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the statement from police, demonstrators stepped into the street around 1:15 p.m. The demonstrators who refused to leave the street were arrested for crowding, obstructing, or incommoding on DC Code § 22–1307. The street was reopened by about 1:35 p.m.
Rep. Speier later released a statement on the matter saying that actions like these are necessary to speak out for patient rights to basic health care and bodily autonomy.
We must take a stand for the women and girls, including 10-year-old rape victims, who are being denied care and are forced to flee their home states because extremists that have taken over the Supreme Court are pushing a religious, political, and personal agenda.Rep. Speier
I’ve never been arrested before but I can hear the late congressman John Lewis imploring me to get in good trouble. We must be willing to speak out for patients who have the right to health care, and the fundamental right to bodily autonomy. pic.twitter.com/8AfGkXecXv— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) July 19, 2022
Rep. Speier went on to say that people “must continue to speak out and be arrested,” to protect more vulnerable populations including poor patients and people of color. Rep. Speier called the Dobbs decision “draconian and misogynistic” and even went so far as to say it belongs in the “dustbin of history.” Rep. Speier described how some medical providers are “too scared” to provide treatments because of the risk for lawsuits or physical threats.
Rep. Barbara Lee also issued a statement on the arrest, criticizing “conservative policies” for stripping away the rights of millions of Americans, “We must make clear: overturning Roe is NOT the will of the people. It is part of an extreme Republican agenda to take away personal freedoms—from abortion to contraception to marriage equality,” she said in a press release.
Rep. Lee says that today’s arrest was an “act of solidarity” with those who are being impacted by the Dobbs decision, “I am committed to continuing this fight: in Congress, in the streets, and at the ballot box.”