Abortion-Rights Protesters Arrested After Disrupting Supreme Court Hearing
WASHINGTON — Three female protesters were arrested Wednesday at the Supreme Court after interrupting a hearing to denounce the recent Dobbs decision that eliminated a constitutional right to abortion.
The women stood up one after the other during the first minute of an unrelated tax case hearing and shouted slogans.
“Our right to choose will not be taken away,” one of the protesters said. “Women vote for our right to choose.”
Minutes later, a second protester said, “We will restore our freedom to choose.”
After each interruption, the attorney arguing his case continued his presentation without acknowledging the protest. The justices also ignored them.
The protesters were quickly taken away without a struggle by court police. They were charged with demonstrating to obstruct the “administration of justice” and with a federal crime that forbids “loud, threatening or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building.”
Police transported them to the Metropolitan Police Department’s central jail. They were identified as Emily Archer Paterson, Rolande Dianne Baker and Nicole Elizabeth Enfield.
They were protesting the Supreme Court’s June opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a landmark ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Roe held that a woman’s right to abortion was protected under privacy provisions of the Constitution.
The Dobbs ruling replaced the constitutional protections by saying abortion policy was a matter of discretion for each state.
Although rare, several protests have been staged inside the Supreme Court in recent years.
In 2015, demonstrators interrupted a hearing to protest the earlier Citizens United campaign finance ruling.
Also in 2015, a spectator was removed while interrupting during oral arguments in a challenge to state bans on same-sex marriage.