Protesters gathered at the Cleveland County Courthouse following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson that overturned Roe v. Wade to speak with District Attorney Greg Mashburn regarding how he will enforce Oklahoma’s abortion trigger law.
Several speakers and Norman officials rallied the event, encouraging protesters to challenge the decision, including Ward 1 Councilmember Brandi Studley, former Ward 1 Councilmember and Oklahoma House of Representative District 44 candidate Kate Bierman, fellow District 44 candidate Jared Deck and Ward 4 Councilmember-elect Helen Grant.
“Cisgender white males have no business legislating our bodies,” Nicole Zegrati, human rights activist and founder of #JusticeforShed, said.
Speakers emphasized that Oklahoma’s abortion bans will affect underserved and low-income communities more than “wealthy white women.” Speakers also said these bans will lead to the deaths of people with unwanted or unsafe pregnancies.
“Anyone with a uterus in this state, at some point in the thousands of menstrual cycles that they've had, has wondered whether or not they would need to exercise one of the many options that might be available to them,” Bierman said.
Bierman and Heather Moody, a human rights activist, led a few members of the crowd up three floors to Mashburn’s office, where a set of locked doors greeted them. The group carried a set of questions for Mashburn, focusing on how he will enforce the anti-abortion “trigger” law now passed with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Mashburn had left for the day and closed his lobby, though office staff still worked inside. The group entered the building just before 4:30 p.m., as city offices typically do not close until 5 p.m.
Christina Owen, chair of the Norman Human Rights Commission, began a “scream-in,” where she shouted in frustration.
Protestors are doing a “scream-in,” consisting of twelve screams: pic.twitter.com/j2zvDqrJ02— Peggy (@pegdodd) June 24, 2022
Lydia Burger, a member of Students for Reproductive Justice at OU, attended the rally furious that this ruling means the loss of reproductive healthcare for all those who can become pregnant.
“I'm out here today because I believe in reproductive justice and the overturning of Roe v. Wade goes directly against that,” Burger said.
Young protester Jenna Howe came to the rally with friends to share her distaste over the court’s decision, expressing that abortion isn’t saving children but actually further abusing and neglecting them. Kevin Tobar, Howe’s friend, showed support with an in-depth understanding of how this decision will affect the future of reproductive rights in the U.S.
“I'm 19 years old. I have lived two decades of my life and I already have less rights than both guns and corpses,” Howe said.
The rally ended with a “die-in” where protesters laid in front of picket signs that symbolized gravestones, representing the people who lose their lives to botched abortions or because of a lack of access to reproductive healthcare.
Another protest will be held at the Cleveland County Courthouse on Monday, June 27, though a time has not been specified. A rally, named “Engage the Rage,” is scheduled for this Sunday, June 26 at the Oklahoma Capitol building at 1:30 p.m.