As of Sunday afternoon, it was a no-name group still debating their uniform for a shot-gun protest today.
This morning, a conglomerate of pro-choice activists plans to debut its frustration — in pink — from the Oklahoma State Senate gallery, firing the defense in a justice war they think has waged on long enough.
“We were all saying someone needed to do something,” said Martha Skeeters, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, who on Sunday, along with Joanna Wall, also of Norman, rallied a packed room of those opposed to two recent abortion laws passed late April in the Oklahoma Legislature.
A month ago, the Legislature voted to override Gov. Brad Henry’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one requiring women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus.
The second measure prevents women who gave birth to a disabled baby from suing the doctor for withholding information about the child’s birth defect before it was born.
“We needed to demonstrate the large number of people who are in favor of reproductive justice, and who are totally enraged and disgusted about the kind of legislation that’s been coming out of the Legislature,” Skeeters said.
And less than 24 hours later, they are, opting to fast-forward — rather than stall for the primary elections — plans to silently protest, via words on their shirts, from the Capitol’s Senate gallery.
“I’m not going to be a part of a group that isn’t going to do anything. We’re not just going to meet every month and talk,” said Estelle Cash, of Norman, echoing another in the audience who advocated protest immediately before opposition to the recent laws lost numbers and force.
“I just found these two pieces of legislation incredibly insulting,” said Ellen Wisdom, of Norman, who remembers picketing for abortion rights when she was in college at the University of Iowa in the 1970s. “It seems like this should have been over a long time ago.”
Skeeters said the group’s spar with the Legislature isn’t singled to the polarizing disagreement between pro-choice and pro-life, adding that it’s about women’s justice.
“What this says is this is what women are meant for,” she said of the legislation, referring to a mindset of women as caretakers and child bearers.
Eventually, Skeeters said the group — birthed over coffee with Wall after news of the override — will form committees and separate into action groups, lobbying to seat lawmakers in the Legislature aligned with the coalition’s political agenda.
Skeeters, who’s never led an advocacy group before, said it’s a conglomerate of e-mail lists that ricocheted through cyberspace.
“I didn’t know about half the people here,” she said of the meeting that drew locals and others from Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton. “People just came.”