Oklahoma public restrooms soon could display signs that promote life-affirming resources to pregnant moms and babies.
The signs, approved as part of a new law earlier this year, would direct pregnant women to state assistance programs and other resources to help her choose life for her child.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Board of Health considered specific regulations in regard to the signs, the Associated Press reports. State officials said the regulation requires that the signs be placed in hospitals, hotels and motels, nursing homes, residential care facilities and most public schools.
Each sign will include a link to the Health Department website and the following language: “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 regulation faces some opposition, but most of the concerns are about the additional expenses of putting up the signs.
Tony Lauinger, state chairman for Oklahomans for Life, told LifeNews that the regulation is based on a principle favoring childbirth over abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Maher v. Roe.
The court held that the U.S. Constitution imposes “no limitation on the authority of a State to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds.”
He said the signs are part of the larger Oklahoma Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, which fosters increased awareness about an unborn baby’s development and the resources available to help struggling moms.
“When young people, in particular, have a good understanding – in advance – of the biological development and humanity of the unborn child, they are much less likely to view abortion as an acceptable ‘solution’ to an unwanted pregnancy,” Lauinger said.
“Ultimately, the pro-life movement is engaged in an effort to reach the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens – especially the young,” Lauinger continued. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are not required to be neutral between life and death. We are free to come down on the side of life. The Humanity of the Unborn Child Act represents a tangible way to do that.”
The AP reports more about the situation:
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.”
… The sponsor, Sen. A.J. Griffin, said she may revise the measure in the upcoming legislative session to more narrowly target it to exclude some facilities.
“I do see how it is going to need to be tempered a tad,” said Griffin, a Republican from Guthrie. “We need to make sure we have something that’s reasonable and still effective.”
Tony Lauinger, executive director of Oklahomans for Life, told reporters the pro-life group’s support for the measure includes funds to cover the costs of the signs.
One group, the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, opposes the signs themselves, claiming they are “completely unnecessary and unwanted,” according to the AP. The Tulsa group has connections to Planned Parenthood: It recommends the abortion chain to teens and co-sponsored events with it in the past.
State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this year as part of a new law, according to The Daily Dot. The law requires that the signs be posted by January 2018, the report states.
The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.