Eight pro-life leaders were arrested yesterday by U.S. Capitol police during the #FreeTheBan sit-in event that took place at House Speaker John Boehner’s office. Event attendees knelt down and prayed outside of the office, blocking entry.
The act of peaceful civil disobedience was a response to House Republicans shelving The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Renee Elmers (R-NC) led a group of Republican congresswomen in protesting the bill’s requirement that sexual assaults be reported to authorities for rape and incest exceptions to apply.
“I’ve been in this movement for 16 years from the moment I held this little aborted baby, and I’ve never felt convicted to be arrested,” stated Jill Stanek, one of the event’s key organizers.
“I’ve always felt my voice was well-heard, speaking and writing. But when this bill failed to be brought forward on Jan. 22, I was just so frustrated and disgusted with our Republican House leadership, that they would abandon these babies over political maneuvering. I decided right then and there that I was willing to be arrested on behalf of this little baby that I held, and others like him.”
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, also an event organizer, said, “We’re here to sacrifice just a little bit of freedom to stand in solidarity with these children, and to help Speaker Boehner grow a spine.”
The sit-in began as scheduled at 10:45 a.m. ET on March 25. Police quickly arrived, placed protesters in plastic handcuffs and removed them from the scene. Those arrested include Stanek, Newman, and Reverend Patrick Mahoney.