OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With the official reversal of Roe v Wade in June, a group of outraged Oklahoma artists and supporters sought out an outlet to express their outrage at the turn of events in a meaningful way.

Oklahoma is one of four states that has a total ban on abortion, except in rare circumstances, including to save the life of a mother.

The result was Rage For Our Daughters, an artistic expression in the form of photography designed to show Oklahomans expressing their rage in response to the reversal.

The exhibition includes photographs of more than 120 Oklahomans of all genders, races, ages and
abilities, who feel rage or other strong emotions about the ban.

One of the collective’s organizers , Angie LaPaglia, said the action, which she says stripped U.S. citizens of the constitutional right to privacy, bodily autonomy and abortion access, forced the need for an extreme response.

“Our goal was to create a space for the artistic expression of the full range of human emotion in response to Dobbs,” LaPaglia said Friday to KFOR.

“We are turning traditionally “negative” emotions like fear, grief, anger and heartbreak into art, and without shame or guilt, [creating space] for people to show up and be who they are in the moment,” she continued.

The movement has since inspired photo sessions in eight cities, along with a traveling exhibition of the photographs, original music performances and “Scream-In” pop-ups.

Photo goes with story
Image KFOR

At least 100 people gathered Friday for one of those pop-ups in the Paseo District, which included a “Scream-In”, two poetry readings and the photo exhibition.

“I came to OU in [1961] and I thought, ‘We can’t go back to that [time],’ but we did,” said Sallie McBreyer tearfully as she stood next to her photo on Friday.

McBreyer said her decision to hold hangers was reminiscent of DIY abortion by wire hangers in the 1960s and 1970s.

“No one knows how bad it is until you’ve been with someone who’s been through that,” she added, recounting the era before abortion law reform was enacted.

“Rage is messy, and it just felt like a visual way to drive home the rage inside of me right now,” added Marilyn Altus. “For me? I’m grieving right now and my activism is here.”

Abortions rights advocates clinched a victory in Kansas this week with a vote to preserve the constitutional right to abortion.

The impact of that vote has many Oklahomans wondering how a question on abortion could make a future ballot in the state, but state officials told KFOR that in pro-life Oklahoma, the same action might not be plausible.

“Oklahomans are overwhelmingly pro-life. Given the sentiment mutually shared among our citizens, I personally believe that an initiative petition wouldn’t gather enough signatures to be on a ballot in the first place. However, I am confidant if a state question were to be on a ballot, our citizens would advocate for the unborn and vote against the measure. Especially given the fact that earlier this year, the legislature expanded the Choosing Childbirth Act that provides women statewide with more resources to help them before and after their child is born. In the future, we are committed to finding additional ways to help women and unborn children thrive in the state.”

– Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat 

Any person or group can draft an initiative petition on a single subject, formatted as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.

Once that petition is approved, a certain number of signatures are required; that number is based on the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

This year, 178,000 signatures for a constitutional amendment and about 95,000 signatures for a state statute.

If the signatures are approved, it goes through a review process with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, before reaching a ballot as a state question in the next election cycle.

For this year, there isn’t enough time to get any new state questions added to the ballot; the earliest it could reach voters would be 2024, unless the governor calls for a special election.

In the meantime, this collective of people said they would continue doing what they can to bring attention to the issue.

“It’s hard for art not to take a stand,” said Angie.

“No woman wants to go have an abortion, but you have to have a choice,” added McBreyer.