Oklahoma Just Passed a Law Requiring Private Businesses to Turn Their Bathrooms Into Billboards for Anti-Abortion Propaganda

The Oklahoma Legislature has outdone itself this time. In the latest of their absurd and callous efforts to shame and stigmatize women, Oklahoma legislators from both parties have passed into law a requirement that commands thousands of private businesses to turn their bathroom walls into billboards for anti-abortion propaganda.

As part of a misguided effort to reduce the number of abortions in Oklahoma, Rep. Ann Coody and Sen. AJ Griffin introduced HB 2797 — the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act.” Among other troubling provisions, the new law requires public schools, hospitals, restaurants, and nursing homes to post signs in their restrooms directing women to services aimed at discouraging abortion.

It’s difficult to see what possible purpose this law could serve other than to shame and dissuade women from accessing their constitutionally protected right to a safe and legal medical procedure. The same legislation also requires the Oklahoma Department of Health to develop and distribute “educational” materials that “clearly and consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being.”

Shaming women and limiting their right to access medically necessary health care is certainly nothing new for the state of Oklahoma. From 20-week bans to outrageous TRAP laws and from annual attempts to grant full rights to a fetus to threatening doctors who perform abortions with felonies, the Oklahoma Legislature is as persistent as they are imprudent.

What’s new this time around is their attempt to conscript private businesses in their war on Oklahoma’s women. The requirement that many businesses, including restaurants, post signs that advance a backwards and misogynist agenda amounts to forced political speech, which is impermissible under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Requiring business owners to communicate a biased statement to their patrons falls well outside the state’s interest to regulate health and safety in these businesses. The ACLU of Oklahoma is considering a range of legal options to halt this government command to display its propaganda on bathroom walls.

Upon receiving the news that her unfunded mandate would cost businesses and chronically impoverished schools an estimated $2.3 million, Sen. Griffin indicated a willingness to revise the legislation to reduce the burden on businesses. While we certainly welcome any opportunity to reconsider the merits of this ludicrous new law, it is disheartening that the majority of Oklahoma’s legislators are unwilling to stand up for women unless doing so happens to align with monied business interests.

In the apparent absence of any desire to approach reproductive health care sensibly and with the rights of women in mind, we will continue to fight threats to Oklahoma’s women however they appear. 

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Anonymous

Why are the Pro-Life voters silent on "In Vitro Fertilization", that destroys more embryos than abortions? Why are they opposed to "Stem Cell Medical Research", which intercepts embryos (headed for the trash dumpster) and instead uses those discarded embryos to save lives and cure diseases? Why aren't Pro-Life voters opposed to the death penalty and "optional" war (Iraq War).

All of the above are equal sins to abortion under the Bible, why not include those in their posters also?

Anonymous

The life of an adult woman is more important than that of a fetus. Sorry if that offends you, but it's true.

Anonymous

Only the woman who is pregnant knows her whole situation. She is the only one who can make the best decisions for herself and her potential children. Forcing a women to maintain an unwanted pregnancy results in back room abortions and permanent harm to the woman and the child.

Anonymous

Roe v Wade has not been overturned, yet!! Women still have the freedom to get abortions. Keep religion out of this. It seems everyone has forgotten separation of church and state.

Anonymous

They don't care if it's men who don't like abortion bc I'm a woman and don't like it, and what do you know they have a problem with THAT. They have a PROBlem if you don't think in every detail just exactly like they do and that's all that matters.
I had the most unwanted pregnancy there is, one from a rape, but I'm sure I don't know what the hell happened to adoption; if you don't want a child from a rape why can't you consider having it adopted first? Just because you don't want it doesn't mean people who are trying to adopt a baby wouldn't. I'm adopted myself because nobody wanted me. If I'd been born after 1973 I wouldn't even be here but I was born before then (obviously.)
I don't have a problem with someone not wanting a baby (I mean I'm not going to judge them), although I don't understand why everyone seems so careless about getting pregnant but I never got pregnant when I didn't want to, and I'm confused that people today don't know about birth control or could be like the patient we once had who actually beLIEVED you "can't get pregnant your first time." She gave her baby up for adoption too. I just don't understand why you wouldn't think of adoption or abortion in that ORDER. You don't have to pay for adoption & these days you don't have to pay for hospital care. But anyway, you WILL have to pay over $500 for an abortion. I don't know about anyone else but I don't have that just lying around either. I didn't even have $250 for a handgun lying around, it would take twice as long to save $500. Insurance won't pay it for you the way they will prenatal care so you have to save it yourself.

FYI: I have a child that was created from a rape. So don't tell me I don't know what it's like to go through it. I just didn't believe anyone can control how they enter the world. I don't see why everyone has to be like a Kennedy, and perfect in every way.

SteelWolf

And what's wrong with trying to save a life by taping a print out to the wall?

Anonymous

So the ACLU is pro death?
Anti-Abortion Propaganda
By Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director, ACLU of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 14, 2016 | 5:15 PM

Anonymous

ANY law controlling a female's bodily functions should be unconstitutional in a democratic society. Only the female should control her bodily functions, including pregnancy.

Anonymous

Nursing homes?

Marie

Yes, i agree, more free birth control and education should be available. And, i dont believe businesses should be mandated as far as what is posted in their bathrooms. I do wonder why so many pro-choice supporters protest so much about information being given about alternatives to abortions. It is inaccurate to lavel that information as "shameing women". Freedom of speach, and of information is important, whether or not that information or speech reflects one's personal agenda or not. I have known and counseled women who have gone to planned parenting, but never were they given alternatives or options to abortion. Post abortion, they regretted having one, and grieved for their lost dead child. Giving women options, letting them know that there are agencies that offer alternatives such as adoption, or funding and support if they chose to have their child, is NOT shameing. It is honoring the women by giving her more choices. I am a women who was raped, became pregnant, and chose to birth and keep my child. That child is now grown, and we are both so very thankful that I spared him, and gave him the chance to live. I am not saying that is what others should do. But it is an option, as is adoption, and why pro choicers fear that information being made available is very telling. BTW: for those of you on here that keep saying that wars kill more people than abortions, get a clue! In the wars America has been involved in in the past 200 years, approx. 1 million American soldiers died., in total. Of all who died, in all wars in the past 200 years, that involved the USA, the total count of all who have died during and since the revolutionary war, including worldwide military and civilian population the number is about 82 million. In the past 10 year there have been approx 11 million abortions in the USA. That's over 1 million babies killed a year. So, no, wars do not kill more humans than abortions. Since the gulf wars, the past 12 years the total number of deaths, both civilian and military, both sides, is less that 1 million. Yes that is a lot. But compare that to the approx 14,000,000 abortions that have occured in the USA In the past 12 years. Someone is making some big bucks, sorry to say.

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