In a unique effort to protect the lives of innocent unborn children, the state of Oklahoma is requiring all hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms and direct pregnant women to health care services.
The provision for the signs was tucked into a law passed earlier this year by the state legislature — and goes into effect in January 2018. The Oklahoma Board of Health is considering regulations for the signs on Tuesday. Businesses and other organizations that will have to pay an estimated $2.3 million to put up the signs because the legislature didn’t approve any money for them represent the main opposition to the bill at the moment.
“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,” Jim Hooper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, told the Associated Press. “It’s just another mandate on small businesses. It’s not just restaurants. It includes hospitals, nursing homes. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Online, it’s a different story — few understand how it might help.
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The anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life requested the bill.
Under the law, the signs would state: “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.”
The signs would also include a link to the Health Department’s website.
“The educational campaign is intended to reach girls and women who are pregnant and may not realize there are many pregnancy resource centers and other groups and agencies available to provide life-affirming help to them during pregnancy and after their baby is born,” Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans For Life, told LifeZette. “It doesn’t have anything to do with abortions in public bathrooms. Bathrooms are just a place to reach women with this public-service information.”
The Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, in a letter to the health department, stated the proposed regulations are “completely unnecessary and unwanted” and said they would provide a significant financial burden on already stressed state agencies.