Chicken-Fried News: Aborted intentions 


Hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools are required to post signs for a lot of things, ranging from fire code building capacity to run-of-the-mill safety warnings for slippery floors. A recently passed bill requested by anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life requires these public places — entities regulated by the State Department of Health — to display signage directing pregnant women to prenatal services as part of an effort to “develop informational material to ‘achieve an abortion-free society,’” Tulsa World reported.

The signs, which must be posted by January 2018, will include a link to the health department’s website and say “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 sign’s verbiage and the bill itself have caused outcry throughout the state. Many citizens, from restaurant owners to concerned women, have voiced their opinions on the controversial mandate.

Oklahoma City resident Tony Westlund, in response to a Facebook post of Tulsa World’s story, noted the replacement cost of the signs, which “are going to get vandalized all to hell.”

“Before making complex medical decisions, I make it a point to consult what’s written on the stalls of public restrooms in Oklahoma,” state resident Jennifer Klein Plato commented on a KWTV-News 9 Facebook post.

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma, called the signs “billboards for a government anti-abortion statement” in a Dec. 13 press release.

“In addition to being a politically motivated attack 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,” Kiesel said.

Tulsa World reported the Oklahoma Hospital Association estimated its cost for posting the signs would total $225,000 and other licensed industries would spend about $2.1 million.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, sent out a press release Dec. 13 assuring the public that the bill depends on funding for the signs and lawmakers will listen to businesses’ concerns.

“As to the logistics of making information available through notifications in public restrooms, the language clearly states that this is contingent on the availability of funds being appropriated by the Legislature specifically for this purpose. Also, it should be pointed out that the bill included no fines or penalties — it really would be on an honor system,” Griffin said. “[We] will be listening to the concerns of our business community and working with them to ensure this effort to protect Oklahoma infants will not be overly burdensome.”

It isn’t clear how much protection a sign could provide Oklahoma’s infants, who face other obstacles regarding health care and education in the state, but only time will tell.

After all that haggling and fighting and pushing for alleged unborn fetus-saving, Griffin aborted her battle during its final moments. Friday, she announced her belief in preserving the lives of businesses and health care providers across the state.

“It was never intended to be a burden on businesses or health providers,” Griffin said in a media statement.

Print headline: Aborted intentions

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