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Oklahoma Will Require Anti-Abortion Signs in Public Restrooms

Dec. 14, 2016

And it’ll cost businesses over $2 million

Oklahoma is the latest state to draw attention for its attempts to curb abortion.

The Associated Press reported that the state plans to require anti-abortion signs in restrooms in restaurants, public schools, hospitals and nursing homes. The signs, per AP, would read, in part: “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 signs are required to be posted in these institutions by January 2018. The provision was part of a law passed by the state legislature earlier this year that requires the state to produce informational material for pregnant women “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society,” according to AP.

The state legislature did not allocate any funds for the signs, which are expected to cost more than $2 million. “We don’t have any concern about the information they’re trying to get out to women about their babies and their pregnancy. This is just the wrong way to do it,” Oklahoma Restaurant Association President Jim Hooper told the AP. “It’s just another mandate on small businesses. It’s not just restaurants. It includes hospitals, nursing homes. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The signs aren’t the first time lawmakers in Oklahoma have tried to restrict abortion rights in the state. In May, the state legislature passed a law that would have made it a felony to perform abortions. The law was subsequently vetoed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked another law signed by Fallin that required abortion clinics to have doctors with admitting privileges to nearby hospitals. A similar provision in Texas was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

Since the election of Donald Trump, who has said he’ll appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, a number of states have made attempts to restrict abortion. A new rule in Texas requires abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law banning abortion at 20 weeks — even in cases of rape or incest — on Tuesday (while vetoing a controversial ‘heartbeat’ bill that would have banned abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks.)

But pro-abortion rights advocates have signaled they’ll fight back against new restrictions, filing a slew of lawsuits in a handful of states attempting to restrict abortion. “We are going to fight back state by state and law by law until every person has the right to pursue the life they want, including people who decide to end a pregnancy,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement last month.