Pro-abortion activists attempted to breach the Arizona Senate building during the first night of protests following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that returned abortion laws back to individual states to decide.
As expected, large protests broke out in cities across the nation following the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. While most of the protests did not result in the acts of violence that have popped up since the publication of a leaked draft majority opinion in the Dobbs decision in early May, one demonstration did turn contentious.
The Arizona state Senate released a statement Friday warning: "Violent pro-abortion protestors' attempts of an insurrection at the Arizona state Senate were thwarted Friday night, thanks to the swift action from local and state law enforcement. While Arizona state Senate members were wrapping up passing important legislation for the session, extremist demonstrators made their way to the entrance of the Senate building and began forcibly trying to make entry by breaking windows and pushing down doors.”
“Law enforcement monitoring this situation called for backup and were able to disperse the crowd with tear gas before the entry was made. As this terrifying situation unfolded, Senate President Karen Fann called a recess so that senators, staff and the public in attendance could evacuate to a secure location,” the statement added.
“Once the premises were secured, those inside the building were able to return to the Senate chambers. Unfortunately, the system that circulates the air through the facility pulled some of the smoke or tear gas into the Senate chambers, making the air quality unhealthy for anyone to return.”
Fann, a Republican, released a statement declaring: “We are incredibly thankful for our local law enforcement who quickly intervened doing what could have been a destructive and dangerous situation for our members, staff and public inside the Senate. Violence is never the answer, and we will not camouflage what was a blatant attempt at an insurrection as a ‘rally’ or ‘peaceful protest.’”
We are calling on all state lawmakers to condemn these acts. There is a way to make your voice heard and violence is never the answer,” she concluded.
Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend, also a Republican, reported Friday night that members of the state Legislature were “currently there being held hostage inside the Senate building due to members of the public trying to breach our security.” She added that we “smell teargas and the children of one of the members are in the office sobbing with fear.”
Townsend sarcastically suggested that she expected “a J24 committee to be created immediately,” referring to the Jan. 6 committee created by Democratic members of the House following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Townsend later posted pictures on her Twitter account to assure that “Everyone is okay, and we are finishing our work.” Although state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita shared video footage of pro-abortion protesters gathered at the entrance of the Arizona Senate building holding signs proclaiming, “Abortion is a human right” and chanting “my body, my choice,” Townsend contended that opposition to legislation the senators were voting on may have motivated the protesters as well.
“We were in the middle of a vote on the expansion of ESA for all so that parents may take their child to the school of their choice when protesters started attempting to kick in the doors. Was this really an attempt to stop that vote more than a #RvW protest?” she asked.
While pro-abortion activists took to the streets in protest of the Dobbs decision, pro-lifers celebrated the ruling.
Ken Paxton, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, announced Friday that he was closing his office and that he would commemorate the Dobbs decision as “an annual Office of the Attorney General holiday” going forward in remembrance of the “70 million lives lost bc of abortion.”