Oklahoma abortion facilities would be required to post signs directing women to alternatives to abortion under a new bill scheduled to be considered in the state legislature in 2017.
Fox News reports state Sen. A.J. Griffin proposed the bill as an amendment to a new law that requires all public facilities, including hospitals, restaurants, hotels and most public schools, to post the signs in their restrooms.
Griffin’s amendment would require the signs to be posted in abortion facilities only. Her amendment also would direct the Oklahoma Department of Health to create a state-wide social media campaign to promote childbirth and adoption over abortion, according to the report.
A number of groups that fall under the new law are upset because they would have to pay to create and post the signs, a total estimated to be about $2.3 million. Few seem to have opposition to the signs themselves.
“It was never intended to be a burden on businesses or health providers,” Griffin said in a statement. “Changing to a social media campaign will actually broaden the reach and make linking pregnant women to services even more visible.”
The report continues:
The State Board of Health on Tuesday approved regulations requiring posting of the signs in public bathrooms at hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools advising pregnant women where to find services to avoid abortion. Griffin said the department is now being asked to halt any further work toward implementing the regulations while her new proposal is considered by the Legislature, which convenes Feb. 6.
Jim Hooper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, told reporters last week that his organization opposes the new requirement because of the cost of the signs, not the information on them.
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“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,” Hooper said previously.
Tony Lauinger, executive director of Oklahomans for Life, told reporters that his group supported the original law with the understanding that the government would budget 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 has co-sponsored events with Planned Parenthood in the past.
According to the law, 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.”
State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this year as part of a new law that they said is “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society,” according to The Daily Dot. The law requires that the signs be posted by January 2018, the report states.
Lauinger told LifeNews that the law 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,” he 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.”