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‘Today is the day we pay attention’: attorney urges local action after fall of Roe v. Wade

Elizabeth Caldwell
Attorney Kensey Wright speaks in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse on June 24, 2022

Protestors took to the sidewalk outside the Tulsa County Courthouse Friday evening in opposition to the fall of Roe v. Wade following a release of Supreme Court opinions.

Through a microphone attached to a speaker in a wagon, leaders in the local abortion rights movement spoke to the crowd. They included the president of the Roe Fund, political hopefuls, a sexual assault survivor, and a woman who bought an AR-15 to compare abortion rights to gun rights.

Elizabeth Caldwell
Lindsey Scotney at the Tulsa County Courthouse on June 24, 2022

Attorney Kensey Wright of No Forced Birth OK urged the crowd to pay attention to local politics.

Citing a list of precedents set to be challenged according to a concurring opinion on the Roe decision, Wright expressed doubt over future access to contraception and the continued existence of same-sex marriage.

“This decision today has set up a domino effect to undo every decision we’ve had over decades for the fundamental right to privacy and individual freedom, over our own bodies, to choose who we love, what we do, and who we do it with,” said Wright.

In the concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Those precedents involve the legality of same-sex relationships and the availability of contraception.

Calling District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler who's running unopposed for re-election “no friend to the Black community, the Indigenous community, to the gay community, to any community except white straight men,” Wright urged the crowd to engage in local elections.

“Today is the day that we pay attention to the judges we put in that courthouse, to the district attorney that we put in the courthouse,” said Wright. “If we do not fight, if you guys cannot pay attention to the local elections starting at this basic level, this decision today is going to open it up to where women can’t own their own bank accounts. They’re not gonna be able to sign for their own credit cards.”

Protests are expected to continue over the weekend.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.