Capitol Alert

Anti-vaccine protester hurled blood in menstrual cup at California lawmakers, test confirms

The California Senate on Wednesday confirmed that the red substance in a menstrual cup thrown at lawmakers by an anti-vaccine protester three weeks ago was human blood.

“While lab tests confirmed that the substance thrown from the Senate Gallery was human blood, it was negative for any blood borne pathogens or infections,” Erika Contreras, secretary of the Senate, wrote on Wednesday to Senate staff.

Rebecca Lee Dalelio, 43, was arrested on Sept. 13 after she hurled her menstrual cup at lawmakers from the balcony of the Senate, apparently in protest of a pair of Senate Bills 276 and 714 that restrict when doctors can issue medical exemptions for vaccinations that are required for children attending California schools..

The laws were signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier that week. The legislation prompted protests and rallies at the Capitol for much of the year, where vaccine-skeptics and anti-vaxxers flooded hallways in opposition to measures they called “draconian” and a form of government overreach.

Dalelio was among several protesters on that Friday at the Capitol, who then filed into the Senate on the final evening of the 2019 legislative year.

“That’s for the dead babies,” Dalelio yelled around 5:15 p.m., after she threw what the California Highway Patrol called “a feminine hygiene device containing what appeared to be blood” at several lawmakers. She did not resist arrest, according to the officers.

Lawmakers quickly evacuated the chamber, which remained closed for the rest of the evening. The floor session did not resume until three hours later, after Senate staff located a room large enough to accommodate the 40 senators, their aides and members of the media.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that the liquid was confirmed to be blood.

Public records indicate Dalelio lives in Boulder Creek, a town in the hills north of Santa Cruz. Her Facebook profile contains several anti-vaccine posts, and screenshots provided to The Sacramento Bee show she’s long fought against state Sen. Richard Pan’s efforts to crack down on vaccine exemptions.

Rebecca-Lee-Dalelio.jpg
Booking photo of Rebecca Lee Dalelio, 43, who was arrested and jailed in the Sacramento County Main Jail on Friday on charges including assault. Sacramento County Sheriffâs Office

The Sacramento Democrat wrote both bills, which build on his 2015 law that eliminated personal beliefs from a list of reasons a child can go to school unvaccinated.

“This incident was incited by the violent rhetoric perpetuated by leaders of the anti-vaxx movement,” Pan said. “As their rhetoric escalates, their incidents of violence does as well. This is an attack on the democratic process and it must be met with strong condemnation by everyone.”

A menstrual cup is a flexible, silicone cup women can use while on their periods to collect menstrual fluid.

State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Ordina, was among the lawmakers hit by the blood, which he told reporters had splattered onto his head. He followed up the next day with routine blood-exposure tests, according to his Twitter.

“A couple hours of sleep since our Senate adjournment around 3am and I’m at a doctors appointment to follow safety protocols from blood exposure,” Glazer wrote. “Still absorbing it all. But as my hat says Relax! Thankful that none of my Senate colleagues appear hurt and we finished our work.”

Dalelio posted $10,000 bond and was released from the Sacramento County Main Jail the morning after the incident, according to sheriff’s department records.

Contreras said that the Senate contracted with a company certified by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to clean the chamber, which she said is now “clean and sanitized, and is once again open to senators, staff and the public.”

‘While the actions of one individual were damaging on many fronts,” Contreras wrote, “Our response showed the resilience and determination of the Senate and will in no way change our commitment to continue our work on behalf of the citizens of California.”

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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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