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D.C. Abortion Provision Protest Yields Four Arrests

Four people were arrested for blocking traffic this afternoon as part of a Capitol Hill rally calling attention to language in the fiscal 2012 spending bill that would bar the use of local and federal funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.

After about 75 demonstrators chanted “Free D.C.!” and “We are the 100 percent without a vote!” outside the Longworth House Office Building, a group of 50 flooded onto Independence Avenue, blocking eastbound traffic.

Capitol Police gave multiple warnings that a failure to clear out would result in arrests. The call was heeded by all but four protesters: DC Vote Communications Director James Jones; Pete Ross, candidate for D.C. shadow Senator; Occupy DC participant Rob Wohl; and Adrian Parsons, who is among a small group that has pledged to stay on a hunger strike until the District is granted full voting rights. Having consumed only water over the past week, he was in a wheelchair Friday.

The short-term fiscal 2011 spending bill passed in April also contained a policy rider banning local funds for abortions in D.C. At that time, protests yielded dozens of arrests, including Mayor Vincent Gray and several city councilmembers.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) attended Friday’s protest.

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