Things That Matter

Democrats and Republicans Offered Wildly Different Takes on AOC’s Arrest

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the 17 Democratic representatives who were arrested yesterday during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court. The peaceful protestors were voicing their opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to The Guardian, protestors were seen blocking traffic outside of the building, chanting “our bodies, our choice” and “we won’t go back.”

This latest demonstration, which started at the U.S. Capitol and ended at the Supreme Court, follows weeks of protests where pro-choice activists have taken to the streets across the country. Immediately after the Supreme Court’s controversial decision, a 7-foot tall protective fence was erected around the building.

Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic lawmaker from New York who was among those arrested, said, “I have the privilege of representing a state where reproductive rights are respected and protected — the least I can do is put my body on the line for the 33 million women at risk of losing their rights.”

Sixty percent of states in the U.S. have banned or are planning to ban abortion. The effects of Roe v. Wade’s overturning are already making themselves apparent, particularly in the case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated in Ohio, forcing her family to travel to Indiana for a legal and safe abortion, per CBS News.

Essence reports that Capitol Police claimed they gave protestors the standard three warnings before arrests were made. A tweet from the official Capitol Police account confirmed that 35 arrests were made in total, with 17 of them being members of Congress.

The source also lists all of the 17 members of Congress who were arrested. They are:

  • Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.)
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)
  • Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.)
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
  • Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.)
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.)
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.)
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.)
  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

The Guardian also reports that President Biden was in agreement with the House of Representatives, which passed legislation codifying reproductive rights nationwide, though the bill is expected to die in the Senate, where Democrats don’t have enough of a majority to overcome the filibuster.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has been criticized for using Roe v. Wade as a fundraising opportunity, said, “We must ensure that the American people remember in November, because with two more Democratic senators we will be able to eliminate the filibuster when it comes to a woman’s right to choose and to make reproductive freedom the law of the land.”

However, AOC has been criticized for the same thing, with her staff sending out a fundraising email immediately after her arrest:

Conservative pundits have also been highly critical of AOC and the 16 other members of Congress who were arrested, labeling the arrest as a publicity stunt.

Criticism has also been leveled against ABC News in particular, which posted images of Reps. AOC and Ilhan Omar that appear to show them handcuffed. Other videos from that day show that none of the reps were handcuffed, but still kept their hands behind their backs.

As of July 20, there have been no updates on the status of the 17 reps who were arrested, with conservatives and liberals alike awaiting information on the detainment and release of the lawmakers, last seen being escorted away from the protest.

An arrest summary on the Capitol Police’s website, however, confirms that 35 protestors were arrested during the demonstration.

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