By Leslie Amsterdam June 21, 2013
Eight citizens were arrested and cited for Disorderly Conduct Thursday June 20, after they stormed the Wisconsin State Senate budget debate, demanding that legislators focus on jobs, not on women’s reproductive rights. The protest occurred as several spectators in the observation gallery chanted, “Focus on jobs, not our vaginas”, while others rushed the doors of the Senate chambers one floor below. Protests began last week as the SB206 legislation was passed in the WI Assembly, after first passing the Senate. The new legislation would force any woman seeking an abortion in Wisconsin to have an ultrasound prior to the abortion.
The view of the arrests from inside the foyer of the WI Senate:
One activist managed to reach the floor of the Senate where legislators were debating the 2013-2015 Wisconsin budget, where he sat peacefully before being removed by Senate pages and Capitol police officers. Seven other activists were arrested in the foyer of the Senate chambers after refusing to leave while chanting, “Focus on jobs, not our vaginas.”
The storming of the Wisconsin Senate occurred after a brief rally outside the Capitol, where activists proclaimed, “No means no!”, and listened to personal testimonies about their experiences with ultrasounds, especially trans-vaginal procedures. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds are the medical standard of care for pregnancies up to 12 weeks.
After the brief gathering the activists delivered wire coat hangers to the offices of several key legislators, including Sen Mary Lazich, the author of the bill, and Governor Scott Walker, who has promised to sign the legislation into law. The Senate resumed their debate after a brief recess to regain order and ultimately passed the 2013-2015 budget just after midnight.
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