PHOENIX — Police fired tear gas to disperse pro-choice demonstrators from outside the Arizona Capitol Friday night, forcing lawmakers to huddle briefly in a basement inside the building as they rushed to complete their 2022 session.
Thousands of protesters had gathered earlier on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix, divided into groups both supporting and condemning the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the right to abortion.
SWAT team members with the Department of Public Safety fired tear gas from the second floor of the old Capitol building to disperse protesters in the mall between the current House and Senate buildings. KPHO-TV reported the officers opened fire when several pro-choice protesters started banging on the glass doors of the Senate building.
Authorities said there were no injuries or arrests.
The incident sent Senate lawmakers into the basement for about 20 minutes, said Democratic Senator Martin Quezada. Stinging tear gas wafted through the building afterward, forcing the Senate to move its proceedings to a hearing room instead of the Senate chamber.
Republicans had enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March, and a pre-Roe law that bans all abortions remains on the books, forcing providers across the state to stop providing abortions earlier Friday.
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) June 25, 2022
Protesters poured onto streets across the United States on Friday, as anger flared over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Just hours after the ruling, Missouri banned abortion — making no exception for rape or incest — and so did South Dakota, except where the life of the mother is at risk.
Protesters took to the streets in St. Louis to decry the ban, gathering at what had been Missouri’s last abortion clinic.
Protesters also marched in New York, Boston and other US cities as anger grew.
Arizona Capitol pic.twitter.com/sf8UcFvByD
— Michelle Ugenti-RITA (@MichelleUgenti) June 25, 2022
There were other incidents at some demonstrations on Friday, including one in the Iowa city of Cedar Rapids, where a pickup truck drove through a group of protesters, running over at least one woman’s foot, according to local media reports.
As of Friday evening, at least seven states had already banned abortion — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
Many more are expected to follow suit or severely restrict the procedure.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 13 states have adopted so-called “trigger laws” that will ban abortion virtually immediately.
Ten others have pre-1973 laws that could go into force or legislation that would ban abortion after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
Women in states with strict anti-abortion laws will either have to continue with their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion, obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where it remains legal.
Demonstrations against the ruling were expected on Saturday as well.