Tears of joy and defeat mar Supreme Court decision


Both anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protests hold demonstrations outside the U.S. Supreme Court following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

WASHINGTON – Tears of joy and defeat flowed freely outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday following the reversal of the nearly 50-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade decision that gave women the right to an abortion.

While many Oklahoma elected officials celebrated the decision, the Tulsa Women’s Clinic, one of four abortion clinics in Oklahoma, said it not only has stopped administering abortions but plans on closing.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said: “I promised Oklahomans I would sign every pro-life bill that came across my desk and I am proud to have kept that promise, especially today as Oklahoma has trigger laws to ban abortion in our state.”

“I am proud to be called America’s most pro-life governor and I’m looking forward to the rest of the country following Oklahoma’s lead to protect life,” he said.

Oklahoma is one of 13 states with trigger laws, taking effect now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. These bans can go into effect as quickly as minutes after the decision to 30 days following the overturn.

While emotionally charged protestors from both sides still rallied outside of the Supreme Court following the decision, an eight-foot-high fence hastily erected around the court last month following the leak of a draft of the opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito.

“Today is a historic day for our nation and for life,” said Sen. James Lankford (R, Oklahoma City) in a statement. “I am overwhelmed with joy for our nation and for the lives of unborn children who will have a chance to grow up because of the Supreme Court’s action and the stand of millions of Americans for life.”

Oklahoma was the first state to impose a full abortion ban from conception into effect on May 26 with many states planning to follow in these steps.

“I feel extremely disappointed and upset, but I am also not surprised. Disappointed and upset by the feeling of moving backward in women’s rights, but not surprised because it seems as though the men running this country always have the final say over women’s rights and bodies,” said Abby Chaffin of Tulsa.

“It is important for people to know that overturning Roe v. Wade will not stop women from receiving abortions. It will just prevent women from receiving safe abortions. We will lose thousands of women to unsafe abortions,” she said.

With Oklahoma’s abortion ban now being backed by the Supreme Court, the new abortion ban, passed by Gov. Stitt, is now here to stay. This May law is not a criminal law, no one being prosecuted under the new law will face jail time. This law provides enforcement through citizens.

However separate legislation signed into law in April prescribes that anyone who prescribes an abortion could face up to five years in prison. This law protects the woman receiving the abortion from jail time or fines.

“If you look at Oklahoma, we have some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. We have moms and babies that are dying, mothers that are trying to carry there may be full terms that are dying because we do not have adequate support systems, health care systems, visits, and prenatal care for moms and babies. And we know those are majority-minority communities that are dying, three to one to their counterpart communities,” said State Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-Oklahoma City).

For both anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights supporters, the fight does not end here, both sides will continue to fight for legislation in both directions.

Pro-abortion rights activists say they don’t plan to rest as they push back against the decision.

But anti-abortion activists already have their next target in sight.

“We won the Supreme Court case today but tomorrow we start working to remove abortion rights from Title IX so that women can be truly free and truly protected,” said an anti-abortion protestor from South Carolina outside the Supreme Court, referring to the historic legislation barring discrimination in educational settings.


Gaylord News is a Washington, D.C., based reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.