Rep. Judy Chu (D, CA-27) was among the 181 protesters arrested during a peaceful abortion rights demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
The 68-year-old Southern California legislator was sitting with 180 other protesters in an intersection between the Russell Senate Office Building and the Supreme Court building when the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) arrested them at around 1 p.m. on Thursday, according to Chu’s spokesperson Lacy Nelson.
In a series of tweets, the USCP said officers gave the demonstrators three verbal warnings before arresting them.
Chu, the only member of Congress who attended the rally, flew to Washington to join the demonstration, Nelson said.
“Today, nearly a week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Rep. Judy Chu… attended a peaceful Planned Parenthood civil disobedience rally on Capitol grounds, where she was subsequently arrested alongside other activists,” Chu’s office said in a statement.
Chu, who was issued a citation, was released around two hours later after her arrest, according to Nelson.
“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,” the Southern California legislator wrote in a statement following her release.
“So, when I think of all these women – and more – the decision to join a peaceful demonstration to make clear we will not allow the clock to be rolled back on abortion rights was easy,” she continued.
“It was an honor to be arrested alongside these young women who are fighting tirelessly to protect our right to abortion,” Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in 2009, tweeted on Friday. “It’s going to take all of us, but we will prevail!”
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, a day after a historic ruling that made it legal to carry guns outside the home. The overturning of Roe v. Wade means that access to abortion is no longer considered a constitutional right, and individual states now dictate reproductive healthcare.
Chu called the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade a “culmination of decades of extremist anti-abortion strategy” following the announcement. Chu, the principal sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, has repeatedly spoken out about the ruling, saying it will severely impact AAPIs and communities of color who encounter various types of barriers to abortion care, from economic and language to legal.