Tlaib, Levin arrested while protesting for abortion rights outside US Supreme Court

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Washington — Two Michigan Democratic lawmakers were arrested near the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon during a protest in support of abortion rights, their offices confirmed.

U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, and Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, were among at least a couple dozen House Democrats and activists who were led away by Capitol Police officers as they blocked an intersection between the court building and U.S. Capitol. 

A Capitol Police officer leads U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, left, and Andy Levin away from an abortion rights protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, July, 19, 2022. They were arrested, according to their offices.

They shouted, "Our bodies, our choice!" and "Hands off our bodies," pumping their fists in the air in a call and response.

Police warned the group to disperse three times and then surrounded the protesters, some of whom had sat down on the intersection pavement, and began making arrests shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Tlaib and Levin both continued to chant as they were led, without handcuffs, to an area on the Capitol lawn that was cordoned off by police tape, according to a livestream of the demonstration. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) leave a processing area after being arrested alongside activists from Center for Popular Democracy Action (CPDA) in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on July 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Both Levin and Tlaib were charged with crowding or obstructing a street in violation of the District of Columbia code and fined $50, representatives for the lawmakers said.

U.S. Capitol Police said they made a total of 35 arrests from the First Street NE demonstration, including 17 members of Congress, for the same charge of crowding, obstructing or incommoding a roadway, and the street was reopened.

Those protesting included members of the Democratic Women's Caucus and leaders from the nonprofit group CPD Action and its affiliates. Others in the crowd included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Barbara Lee of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

The demonstration in support of abortion rights comes after the Supreme Court last month struck down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a right to abortion. 

Both Levin and Tlaib are facing challengers in the Aug. 2 primary election. Both have called to expand the Supreme Court and for ending the filibuster in the Senate to make abortion rights a federal law.

"I’m willing to do whatever it takes to protect abortion rights — even if it means getting arrested," Levin tweeted. "I joined my Democratic Women’s Caucus colleagues in a civil disobedience action outside the Supreme Court. We won’t go back!"

mburke@detroitnews.com