Oklahoma lawmakers may force hospitals, restaurants, nursing homes, and public schools to post signs directed at pregnant women, in an effort to reduce rates of abortion in the state.
According to The Associated Press, the signs will read: “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 Huffington Post reports that stipulations about the signs were included in a law known as the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act,” which was supported by the anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life. The legislation passed in June, and requires the state to develop materials “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” The State Board of Health will consider regulations for the signage on Tuesday.
Because the Legislature did not approve any funds for the initiative, the signs are expected to cost businesses and other organizations some $2.3 million. As a result, many in Oklahoma are protesting the law.
“We don’t have any concern about the information they’re trying to get out to women about their babies and their pregnancy,” Jim Hooper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, told the AP. “This is just the wrong way to do it. It’s just another mandate on small businesses. It’s not just restaurants. It includes hospitals, nursing homes. It just doesn’t make sense.”
On Twitter, opponents of the legislation voiced concerns that the signs will infringe upon women’s reproductive rights.
if you live in Oklahoma please feel free to graffiti all of these places with "ABORTION IS LEGAL" https://t.co/7c15cIeVko
— #1 Rachel (@rachel) December 13, 2016
Call me crazy, but wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to just teach sex ed? https://t.co/QL5T9aXOfK
— Sarah Peterson (@Slp5111) December 13, 2016
Read more at The Associated Press.