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

LOL You believe science when it is convenient for you... Now how about Climate Change?

Anonymous

I've had an abortion :3

Anonymous

Once again the Aclu is standing up for the whole sale slaughter of innocent babies. They are upset that women might be dissuaded. Really? Someone might actually persuade a woman not kill her unborn child? How heartless and cruel can the liberal mind be? Liberalism is a mental disorder.

Anonymous

No, they're standing up for free speech on the part of private businesses. Why should individuals and small businesses have the burden and expense of being forced to convey a political message that they may not even believe? It exposes the hypocrisy of the right. They don't give a damn about shrinking government overreach. They just want the government to exclusively do the things that THEY want it to.

Douglas

"Wholesale" slaughter of innocent babies. Let's start with "unborn child". We all know that is a right-wing inaccuracy. But, the more salient point is that you (and conservatives) are always mouthing about small government and intrusion. This law is the worst of big government. But, your only comeback is to use hyperbolic nonsense.

BTW, I'm sure you'll be the first to adopt a forced birth under this law, right?

Anonymous

the other reply is full of it. if that was what the article was about I might agree with it. the article was s
primarily about making sure unborn babies continue to die. and the ad to subscribe to aclu to keep abortions legal proves it.

Anonymous

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Whereas classical liberalism emphasises the role of liberty, social liberalism stresses the importance of equality. ... The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, South America, and North America. wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism Naturally, Trumputin supporters don't like liberty and equality that's why they support a candidate that colludes with a foreign power. They're the enemies of the United States of America.

Earth of Sydney...

Christianity is schizophrenic, sociopathic and pure genocide in itself. No religion has murdered more people than those in the name of religion and they talk about the sanctity of life.

Magdalene

I had a baby when I was 21. I gave him up for adoption because I was personally opposed to having an abortion and could not support him. Fortunately, adoption workers were available to help me give him a wonderful home. The child I had is now grown up and about to become a father himself. All of that said, I AM A LIBERAL. Your classification of my political position as a mental disorder reveals your own, deep-seated inhumanity. Your perfect delight in shaming women in the direst of straits, and willingness to expand your disgust to half the population, speaks volumes. If you had an ounce of real charity for your fellow human beings you would not spend untold hours and days typing out your anger and hatred here. You would be out clothing, feeding, and sheltering the hungry and the homeless. To prove me wrong about you, disappear from this site. Continue to post here, and you prove me right.

Anonymous

How about we start a fund to provide frames for these notices that say the text is required to be there by law and that safe abortion is available from Planned Parenthood or whatever local providers / 800 numbers are appropriate?

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