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    13 protesters arrested near Supreme Court ahead of abortion pill arguments

    By Beatrice Peterson,


    Capitol Police on Tuesday morning arrested 13 protesters who were demonstrating against the Supreme Court's examination of restrictions to the abortion pill mifepristone.

    The Supreme Court justices on Tuesday are hearing arguments over whether the Food and Drug Administration lawfully relaxed restrictions to make it easier to access the drug to end a pregnancy. Mifepristone, the first pill taken in a two-drug regimen for a medication abortion, is the most common method of abortion in the country.

    Capitol Police said the 13 protesters were moving around the Capitol grounds and "illegally blocking roads and then a walkway."

    MORE: Supreme Court examines abortion pill restrictions in high-stakes challenge to FDA
    Jose Luis Magana/AP - PHOTO: Abortion-rights activists are arrested by U.S. Capitol police as their protest outside of the Supreme Court during a rally March 26, 2024, in Washington.

    "Our officers warned the group to stop blocking the walkway or they would be arrested. They refused, so our officers arrested them,” a Captiol Police spokesperson said.

    Throughout the morning, there were large competing demonstrations outside the building. Small groups of pro-abortion rights demonstrators staged sit-ins on sidewalks and roadways.

    MORE: Abortion pill hearing live updates: Supreme Court considers challenge to popular medication

    The Center for Popular Democracy Action alongside the Women's March confirmed to ABC News later on Tuesday that their members were the ones arrested near the Supreme Court. Capitol Police said that 12 women and 1 man were taken into custody.

    Women's March Executive Director Rachel O'Leary Carmona was one of the people arrested and told ABC News in a statement, in part, that "the reality is that this case is personal, and we took it as such. We could not just stand by while our rights to bodily autonomy are potentially revoked."

    Scene on the ground

    Protesters on both sides of the issue held signs and chanted in support of or opposition to abortion access, underscoring the intensity of the issue.

    Flanked by supporters wearing white lab coats and speaking over protesters, anti-abortion activists with Alliance Defending Freedom began their rally near the Supreme Court before oral arguments.

    Meanwhile, pro-abortion rights advocates held signs reading "bans off our bodies" and "keep abortion legal," reminiscent of other demonstrations since the Supreme Court scrapped constitutional protections for the procedure in 2022.

    Such protests have become common occurrences at the court and elsewhere during significant decisions around reproductive rights, with activists on both sides mobilizing to encourage lawmakers and judges to support more restrictions or, on the other hand, ease pathways to obtaining abortion and other reproductive-related care.

    ABC News' Tal Axelrod and Caleigh Bartash contributed to this report.

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