Rep. Judy Chu among 181 arrested at abortion rights protest


Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) is arrested by Capitol Police with over a hundred other people during a protest for abortion rights. (Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

(The Hill) — Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) was arrested Thursday at an abortion rights rally on Capitol grounds.

The rally, which was organized by Planned Parenthood, came less than a week after the Supreme Court issued a ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that made access to abortion a constitutional right.

Chu said the decision to join the peaceful demonstration Thursday was “easy,” after considering the individuals who would be affected by the reversal of Roe.

“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,” she said in a statement.

“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.

Chu is a leading sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that seeks to codify Roe v. Wade.

The legislation cleared the House in a mainly party-line vote in September, but was later blocked in the Senate by Republicans and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.).

A number of Democrats, including President Joe Biden on Thursday, have called on the Senate to abolish the filibuster to pass abortion legislation, but the caucus does not appear to have the votes to do so — Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Simena (D-Ariz.) have been opposed to changing the 60–vote threshold.

Chu called for the filibuster to be abolished after her arrest Thursday.

“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,” she said in her statement.

“Lives are at stake and this fight is far from over,” she added.

The U.S. Capitol Police said it arrested 181 individuals outside the Capitol on Thursday for crowding, obstructing and incommoding, or blocking a main intersection.

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