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

news flash........abortion does kill a human being. Why is this so shocking???

Anonymous

News flash , there aren't any stickers on men's room doors that say pay your child support , or keep your cock in your pants. .

Anonymous

News flash!!! WARS Kill a LOT MORE human beings!!! (But hey, those are OK, right?)

jeff messer

Abortion kills a lump of cells. We don't know if that is a human or not. One side blindly assumes it is while the other says it may be BUT mother's lives are more important than a possible life.

So don't overreach.

Anonymous

Follow-up shocking news: eggs (even fertilized ones) are not chickens, although they could potentially become so. A similar situation is also true for mammals, including humans. Bonus shocker: ACTUAL female human beings' rights are being trampled to accommodate an arguably misguided view of humanity.

Anonymous

Abortions doesn't kill a human being it is removing a potential health risk from a woman's body or it is removing a being that can't or won't be taken care of by the woman. Do you want more child abuse?

Anonymous paramedic

It DOESN'T "kill a lump of cells" after 20 wks and if you don't believe me look it up. I work in health care and by the 20th wk it's WAY more than a "lump of cells." There have been babies that lived outside the womb after 26 weeks (a month and a half beyond 20) bc of the advent of surfactant, the thing that makes your lungs work right.
And why the gd hell a person doesn't know she's pregnant way before it GETS to 20 wks is beyond me. I knew after the first missed cycle. Unless a woman of pregnancy age has periods every 3 months, I don't know how she doesn't know within 3 months that she is or isn't pregnant so she can decide right then; 20 weeks is 5 gd months of being pregnant. With all the things that HAPpen to you when you're pregnant that are different from how you normally function, I don't know how you don't know until you're almost in the 3rd trimester that you're with child. It's totally irresponsible to not know because you have to have prenatal care beginning with the first trimester, not well into the second and you won't have gotten it if you don't know you're pregnant.
I don't know what everyone's damn deal is with waiting that long but you risk going having complications or going into hypovolemic shock because you'll bleed a lot more, so why WOULDN'T you want to do it as early as possible when it's CLOSER to "a lump of cells," which it STOPS being that when the first trimester becomes the second, and the heart is already set up after 8 wks. Just because it's using the mother's hepatic portal system to circulate blood doesn't mean it isn't there.

Anonymous

Look it up in the Bible... When does life begin? Answer: when it takes it's first breath... So... No... Just because Fox News said it was so... Don't make it right..

Anonymous

A fetus is not a human being. If your beliefs render you pro-life why not concern yourself with the millions of (living) children who do not have homes? Giving birth to an unwanted child is unfair to both mother and, more importantly, the baby. Common sense, please.

Anonymous

A fetus cannot live outside the woman carrying it. It's not medically "human" yet, it's a constitutional right of a woman to to choose. If it's against YOUR religion then I suggest YOU not have one.

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