Oklahoma Wants to Put Anti-Abortion Signs in Bathrooms, Doesn’t Want to Pay for Them
In the continuing effort to reduce abortion rates by any means other than increasing access to contraception, financial assistance, and sex education, Oklahoma has decided that there should be anti-abortion signs posted in bathrooms. If a woman is pregnant and does not want to have a baby, clearly some graffiti will change her mind.
According to the New York Daily News, Oklahoma is planning on making all hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, hotels, and public schools post signs in their public bathrooms telling women to call the health department for help if they are pregnant.
The signs would 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.”
It doesn’t specify what the state of Oklahoma will actually do if someone calls them, but it sure as hell won’t be sending them to Planned Parenthood, where they could get pregnancy testing, prenatal care, or an abortion if that’s what they want. More likely they’ll be directed off to some “crisis pregnancy center” that does not offer actual, practical assistance, just anti-abortion rhetoric.
The regulation is part of a law that Oklahoma passed earlier this year to make pamphlets and signs and other media designed for “achieving an abortion-free society.”
Dear Oklahoma, if you are actually looking to achieve an “abortion-free society,” I would like to point you towards the case of Colorado, where a program to give free IUDs to teenagers and poor women cut the abortion rate by 42 percent. If you actually want to achieve an “abortion-free society,” you might want to start there, with something that actually worked. It wasn’t even expensive, because the program saved the state five times more money in social services than it spent on the IUD program. But if you’re just looking to make noise and grandstand about life beginning at conception, bathroom signs are a pretty good way to go.
Oklahoma’s bathroom signs are not free, but the Oklahoma Legislature did not allocate any money to pay for them. The hospitals, restaurants, nursing homes (note: nursing homes?), and public schools will have to pay for their own signs, which will cost an estimated $2.3 million dollars. Approximately $225,000 of that cost would be born by the state’s hospitals.
The Oklahoma Restaurant Association is currently going, “Wait, why the fuck do we have to post these in our restaurants?” It’s not necessarily that they’re in favor of reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, but restaurants don’t want to have to pay for these stupid signs any more than the state health department or department of education does.