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Busy Philipps arrested in Roe vs. Wade protests: ‘This is the fight of a lifetime’

A group of protesters, including one with a megaphone and some others with fists in the air
Actor Busy Philipps, center, and abortion-rights activists demonstrating against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in Washington, D.C.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Actor and former talk show host Busy Philipps — a vocal advocate of abortion rights — was arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C., for protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic reversal of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark case protecting reproductive decisions.

The “Girls5eva” star documented herself demonstrating with throngs of people in front of the court before she was “arrested, processed” and released Thursday afternoon, sharing much of the ordeal on Instagram and Instagram Stories. The 43-year-old also reposted and confirmed a Vice News story in which she said she is being arrested “for equality.”

“On Friday, the right to make decisions about our own bodies and lives — a right we’ve had for almost 50 years — was ripped away from us by this new Supreme Court, a Court whose personal belief’s [sic] are NOT shared by the vast majority of Americans. I am one of those Americans,” Philipps wrote on Instagram, captioning images and videos showing the gathering in D.C. and encountering law enforcement.

Representatives for Philipps did not immediately respond Friday to The Times’ request for comment.

Here’s everything you need to know about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe vs. Wade.

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The “Cougar Town” alum, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “I will aid and abet abortion,” joined organizations such as the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Working Families Party and the Rev. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign that have been demonstrating as a result of the ruling, which removes federal protections on abortion and gives individual states the power to make and enforce their own legislation on the issue.

Philipps characterized the reproductive-rights demonstration as “an action of peaceful civil disobedience to let lawmakers, but more importantly the people who will be most impacted by this outrageous decision, know that we will not back down, we will not give in and we will not stop fighting until there is equality for all Americans.”

“I can think of no better way to use my privilege and voice than to amplify the message that bodily autonomy IS a human right, as it is ACTUALLY the exact same thing as the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must ensure that it applies to all of us,” she wrote. “This is the fight of a lifetime, y’all. It’s not gonna be short, easy or without setbacks. But we must MUST MUST keep showing up and taking action. *YOU* must. I promise I will.”

Actress and talk show host Busy Philipps is bringing private conversations about abortion into the public discourse with the #youknowme campaign, an effort to get women to open up about their abortion experiences as restrictive laws about the practice are gaining traction across the country. “1 in 4 women have had an abortion,” Philipps tweeted late Tuesday just as Alabama lawmakers voted to ban all abortions in the state and to punish doctors, and as other states prepare for their own versions of the law.

Philipps also railed against abortion-rights opponents and antiabortion organizations “hiding behind ‘the will of God’” and said that they “aren’t reflective of ANYTHING- not the greatness or compassion of humanity and certainly not God.”

“ENOUGH OF THIS,” she concluded. “ENOUGH OF BEING BULLIED BY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR ME. WE HAVE TO ALL SHOW THE F— UP. I DON’T KNOW WHO NEEDS TO HEAR THIS BUT WE NEED TO SHOW THE F—UP NOW.”

The logistics of accessing abortion are about to get more complicated, with at least 26 states set to ban the procedure after the fall of Roe vs. Wade.

In 2019, Philipps helped bring abortion into the public discourse with the #youknowme campaign, an effort to get women to open up about their abortion experiences as restrictive laws about the practice gained traction across the country.

At the time, Georgia had just become the fourth state that year to enact a law outlawing most abortions at about six weeks — before most women know they are pregnant — and Philipps condemned the decision on her E! talk show, “Busy Tonight,” where she had talked about her abortion at age 15.

Her story prompted a barrage of replies from women protesting legislation criminalizing abortions and sharing their emotional personal histories — similar to the early days of 2017’s revolutionary #MeToo movement.


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