Abortion-rights protesters briefly interrupt Supreme Court

FILE - The U.S Supreme Court is seen, Oct. 11, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 people 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,” one 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.

The protesters, identified as Emily Archer Paterson, Rolande Dianne Baker and Nicole Elizabeth Enfield, were charged were violating a law against making a “harangue” in the Supreme Court building and another barring interference with the administration of justice, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said by email.

The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a case involving reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act. After a 19-month closure because of the coronavirus pandemic, the courtroom was reopened to the public in October.

The last time Supreme Court arguments were interrupted was in 2015 when opponents of rulings that lifted limits on money in political campaigns voiced their protest and even managed to get a camera past court security.

Seven people were arrested in the January 2015 protest that took place on the fifth anniversary of the court’s Citizen United ruling that freed corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want on elections for Congress and president.

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