This past June, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act” — which required the state’s Department of Health to create “informational material” designed to discourage women from having abortions. (Clearly a good use of their time and energy…)
Part of this bill, scheduled to go into effect by January of 2018, requires the placement of signs in all public bathrooms discouraging women from having abortions.
The signs are supposed to read:
There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you carry your child to term and assist you and your child after your child is born, whether you choose to keep your child or to place him or her for adoption. The State of Oklahoma strongly urges you to contact them if you are pregnant.
There was supposed to be government funding for these signs… but, alas, it fell through. Now Oklahoma business owners are concerned! Not so much because whinging at women about abortions while they’re trying to pee is a rather obnoxious thing to do, but because they fear they will have to pay for these signs themselves:
Groups representing hospitals and restaurants are among those complaining that the new requirements are an expensive, unfunded mandate from the Legislature.
“We don’t have any concern about the information they’re trying to get out to women about their babies and their pregnancy. This is just the wrong way to do it,” said Jim Hooper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association. “It’s just another mandate on small businesses. It’s not just restaurants. It includes hospitals, nursing homes. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Seriously. Hospitals and nursing homes. Because that’s where you find pregnant women considering abortions.
State Senator A.J. Griffin, a sponsor of the bill, says that everyone is just misreading it. Once the bill goes through the rules-making process, she says, it will be made more clear that putting up the signs will be voluntary.
Sen. Griffin told LawNewz.com:
“There is no penalty for not complying or reward for complying therefore compliance is voluntary, not compelled either way. This also must be clarified in the rule making process although I intend to change the language in statute to make this clearer.”
Although the signs may not be “required,” the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act” is still an incredibly disturbing piece of legislation. It requires that all information regarding unwanted pregnancies produced by the state’s Department of Health must be aimed at “the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society” and must “consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being.”
It uses taxpayer funds explicitly for the purpose of disseminating anti-choice propaganda — which is not only obnoxious, but a fairly pointless waste of money, given that most people have their minds made up on abortion already one way or another.
It’s not like you’re going to run into people who will see the signs and go, “What?! Wow! I could just not have an abortion? And the Republican legislature in Oklahoma would prefer that I not have one? Who knew?! Mind. Blown.”
Oklahoma’s record on abortion rights is fairly awful to begin with. The state attempted to outlaw the procedure earlier this year. And just this week, their state Supreme Court had to throw out another anti-abortion law signed by Fallin which would have required doctors performing abortions to have “admitting privileges” at a nearby hospital.
As it stands, women seeking abortions must undergo counseling aimed at convincing them to not have one. They must also wait 72 hours before obtaining one — which is a pretty inconvenient for the 55% of women in the state who live in counties without an abortion clinic.
(Image via Shutterstock)