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Abortion-rights protesters briefly interrupt Supreme Court

It was the first courtroom disruption since the court’s decision in June to strip away women’s constitutional protections for abortion after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade.
People wait in line outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 11, 2022.
People wait in line outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 11.Stefani Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Protesters opposed to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning abortion rights briefly interrupted arguments at the court Wednesday and urged women to vote in next week’s elections.

It was the first courtroom disruption since the court’s decision in June that stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade.

Three women stood up in the courtroom in the first few minutes of Wednesday’s session to denounce the abortion ruling, which came in a case from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Our right to choose will not be taken away,” a protester said. “Women, vote for our right to choose.”

The justices did not appear to react to the disruption. The protesters did not resist when police led them away.

Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said three women — Emily Paterson, Rolande Baker and Nicole Enfield — were arrested and have been charged with violating two federal laws related to disrupting Supreme Court proceedings and interfering with the administration of justice.

An unnamed group that said it was behind the protest said in a statement that the women were "denouncing the Dobbs decision and calling on the women of America to vote to restore abortion rights nationwide."

Kai Newkirk, who said he was one of the organizers, pleaded guilty in 2014 to disrupting a Supreme Court argument that year.

The court was hearing a case involving reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act when the women spoke. The live audio feed of the argument appeared to cut out when the protesters began to speak.

The protest group said it hopes to have video, photos and audio of the incident. Recording devices are forbidden in the courtroom.