Congresswoman who wrote abortion rights bill arrested at rally near Supreme Court

The House Democrat who introduced a bill last year to enshrine abortion rights into federal law was among more than 180 protesters who were arrested Thursday at a pro-abortion rights rally near the Supreme Court.

Rep. Judy Chu of California was participating in a civil disobedience rally on Capitol grounds, “where she was subsequently arrested alongside other activists,” her office said in a news release.

A spokesperson for Chu, describing the demonstration as a “sit-in,” said she was arrested around 1 p.m., adding that she was the only member of Congress at the rally.

Chu tweeted: “The decision to march today was easy—I came out to march for the young rape survivor, the woman who cannot afford to travel to another state to access critical care, the mother with an ectopic pregnancy whose life is in danger. I came out to march for all of us.”

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., is arrested by Capitol Police with over a hundred people during an act of civil disobedience during a protest for abortion-rights on June 30, 2022, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

U.S. Capitol Police said on Twitter that they arrested 181 people for illegally blocking an intersection near the Capitol and the Supreme Court.

NBC News has asked Capitol Police for comment.

The rally was led by several abortion rights activist groups, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Working Families Party.

Chu introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act in September after the Supreme Court allowed a new Texas law banning most abortions to remain in place.

The measure would codify the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision into federal law “to protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy” and to protect health care providers’ ability to continue administering abortion services, according to the bill’s text.

The House passed the bill in September in a 218-211 vote, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in opposing the measure. In a 46-48 Senate vote in February, the bill failed to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster.

President Joe Biden said Thursday he supports an “exception” to the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow Democrats to pass abortion protections.

“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law. And the way to do that is to make sure that the Congress votes to do that, and if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be … an exception … to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision,” Biden said at a news conference in Madrid.

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