Activism

Disabled Activists Arrested and Dragged by Wheelchairs While Protesting Obamacare Repeal

Disability rights protesters have been at the front lines of anti-repeal demonstrations.

Photo Credit: Molly Adams / Flickr Creative Commons

While many able-bodied Americans were debating whether they had the time to call their senators, hundreds of activists, many of them in wheelchairs, lined up outside a hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Monday to oppose the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

They came from all over the country as a part of a national day of action organized by multiple groups committed to preserving the Affordable Care Act. The line, according to a tweet from Virginia Senator Mark Warner, was longer than that at the Comey hearing. 

Despite the GOP's frequent claims that the Affordable Care Act was not subject to enough scrutiny by Congress, Monday's Finance Committee hearing was the only one scheduled for a bill that impacts one-sixth of the economy and threatens to sharply cut Medicaid, allows states not to cover birth control and discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions. Protesters disrupted the hearing as soon as it began, preventing Chairman Orrin Hatch from beginning. Just as quickly, Capitol Police began their arrests. 

All afternoon, photos and videos of the arrests flooded Twitter, including shocking images of police handcuffing and dragging wheelchair-bound protesters. Many were from ADAPT, a disability rights organization that has been at the front lines of anti-repeal protests from the beginning of the Trump administration. As of 6pm Monday, protesters were being arrested and processed in groups. No word yet on their release. 

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Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.