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Ethics Panel Won’t Take Action on Rep. Chu’s Abortion Protest Arrest

July 22, 2022 by Dan McCue
Ethics Panel Won’t Take Action on Rep. Chu’s Abortion Protest Arrest
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee on Friday said it would take no disciplinary action on Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., who was arrested June 30 during an abortion rights protest near the Supreme Court building.

Chu is the principal sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which codifies a women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House last week by a 219-210 vote with every Democrat but one voting in favor and every Republican opposing it.

A companion bill, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act passed 223-205 with every Democrat voting for it and every Republican but a handful opposing it.

Chu was arrested by Capitol Police at about 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, while sitting with other demonstrators in an intersection between the Russell Senate Office Building and the Supreme Court building.

According to the House Ethics Committee, the representative was charged with “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding, during a protest” and released. 

“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,” Chu said in a statement released shortly afterward. 

“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 said.

According to the representative’s spokeswoman Lacy Nelson, with Congress in recess, Chu flew back to Washington specifically to participate in the rally, and was the only member of Congress to attend.

Chu informed the Ethics panel that she intends to pay the $50 fine related to her arrest. 

The legal proceedings related to her arrest are expected to be resolved with no further action.

As a result, the Ethics Committee voted against impaneling an investigative subcommittee in the matter, and said upon its announcement today, it considers the matter closed.

As for the future of the Women’s Health Protection Act, the legislation has moved over to the Senate where it failed to advance in May. 

At the time, a procedural motion to advance its consideration failed by a 49-51 vote, meaning it did not reach the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. 

All Democrats voted for the legislation except Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and all Republicans opposed the bill.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

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