US Rep. Alma Adams of NC says colleague should be 'ashamed' for likening abortion rights protesters to Jan. 6 rioters

Adams said at a news conference that her colleague, U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, should be "ashamed" of remarks comparing her and others at the protest to rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, including many who hoped to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Posted Updated

Bryan Anderson
, WRAL state government reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina was among 17 members of Congress arrested Tuesday during a protest at the U.S. Supreme Court Building.

On Wednesday, Adams said at a news conference that her colleague, Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, should be “ashamed” of remarks comparing her and others at the protest to rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, including many who hoped to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“They're just trying to take attention away from the awful things that happened on Jan. 6, trying to overturn our democracy,” Adams said. “They don't want to talk about that.”

The Democratic congresswoman, who has represented the Charlotte area since 2014, stood alongside abortion rights advocates in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to voice her opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's move last month to overturn the precedent set in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion case.

Bishop said Adams should've been more careful in how she expressed her dissent and reaffirmed his comparison to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot.

“The shame is hers on two counts," Bishop said in a statement. "First, that she would bring her office into disrepute by flouting the law governing the time, place and manner of protest against the Supreme Court at a time its justices are under violent threat. Second, that her contempt for the law is exceeded only by her contempt for the ordinary Americans who committed similar violations on January 6 and languish for months in the DC gulag without trial.”

The high court’s ruling last month leaves it up to states to determine abortion laws, prompting praise from anti-abortion groups that had long sought to overturn Roe and concern from abortion rights proponents that access to the medical procedure could soon be diminished in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Within hours of her arrest, Adams was back on the floor of the House voting to protect same-sex marriage and interracial marriage—a vote that came in part because critics of the Supreme Court’s decision fear that justices could seek to reverse other past decisions.

Bishop then likened Adams and the other arrested lawmakers who had been peacefully protesting to the Jan. 6 insurgents.

“Will they be sent to the DC gulag with the J6 prisoners? Fair is fair, right?” Bishop wrote on Twitter.

He added in a separate post, “They’re all on the floor voting now despite arrests. Could there be a dual standard of justice?”

Adams called the posts an effort to distract from the Roe reversal and the violence at the Capitol last year after the 2020 election.

“Hopefully, Mr. Bishop will remember that there are women and girls in his district who care about this issue,” Adams said “I don't think that there's a dual standard at all. I don't expect any more from my Republican colleagues and to say things like that."

Adams said during the news conference that she hadn’t spoken with Bishop about his post.

“They ought to be ashamed of themselves for saying things like that,” Adams said. “I don't have any interest in having a conversation with Dan Bishop. If they want to get the Supreme Court to reverse it again, then maybe we'll have something to talk about.”

Republicans and Democrats are hoping the abortion issue will drive voters to the polls in November.

This isn't the first time Adams was arrested. She noted she was taken into custody in the 1990s during a protest about minimum wage.

Adams said she’d continue to protest the Supreme Court’s decision, even if that meant more arrests in the future. “We have to continue to speak out because it's absolutely critical.”

She was fined $50 for what the U.S. Capitol Police described as “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” The department wrote on Twitter that it made 35 arrests, including 17 members of Congress.

While being processed, an officer told Adams that she was among more than 50 people being detained, she said. Adams said U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C., police officers were responding to the protest and asked her and others to leave around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"We didn't move," Adams said in an interview with WRAL News while being processed by law enforcement on Tuesday. "We stayed there. When they asked us to leave, we stayed and got arrested."

Adams, who said she wasn’t handcuffed, said she didn't know which agency was processing the arrest. She expressed concern that women across the country could soon see further abortion restrictions due to the high court's decision.

"I'm here protesting with my colleagues and supporters who believe as I do: That women should be the ones to make that choice about what to do in the case that they may need this service," Adams said. "Shame on the Supreme Court for what they did, and we've got to continue to protest and speak out."

Abortion remains legal in North Carolina, but the Supreme Court’s decision has fueled discussion over whether state lawmakers would implement new abortion restrictions.

Republican state lawmakers have said they don’t plan to put forward new bills this year, especially since the measures would almost assuredly be vetoed by the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper. Democrats are hoping to prevent Republicans from gaining veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate.

But a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy could soon be on the table if GOP lawmakers successfully relitigate a case that was addressed last year when a federal appeals court ruled the state’s ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end federal abortion protections bolsters the prospects of the state ban’s implementation.

Adams, who previously served in the North Carolina House of Representatives before moving to the U.S. House, said she doesn’t trust the Republican-led chamber on the issue of abortion.

“I served with those folks down there,” Adams said. “I know that ground. And they haven't been about doing the right thing.”

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore's office declined to respond to Adams.

A WRAL News poll of North Carolina adults conducted about two weeks before the Supreme Court’s ruling found that 57% respondents supported laws restricting abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, while 31% were opposed. Asked if they’d back a similar law restricting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, 45% were supportive and 39% opposed.
Meanwhile, 45% of respondents didn’t think Roe should be overturned while 30% believed it should. A quarter of respondents said they weren’t sure.


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