State mandates pro-life signs in public restrooms

OKLAHOMA - Right beside the reminder to wash your hands in a public bathroom, there may soon be a new sign.

It’s part of a push to cut the number of abortions in the state.

It requires certain facilities like hospitals, restaurants, schools, even nursing homes to have a sign that says this:

“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 would have to be posted in places with public restrooms licensed by the State Department of Health.

“Obviously, the health department doesn’t have the funding. Funding was not made available to have those signs produced, so the only way to make it work would be to past that cost along to the regulated community.”

Those faced with the price tag said it’s an unfair burden.

“We got calls and people were throwing up their hands thinking what in the world is going on,” said Craig Jones, Oklahoma Hospital Association.

Jones estimates a $2 million dollar price tag for businesses.

“A small hospital probably has 10 bathrooms. But, a hospital system like Integris, they have over 400,” Jones said.

The bill’s sponsor: Senator A.J Griffin.

“With 53,000 Oklahoma babies born each year, there’s a significant number of those mothers that could benefit from the public services that are already available in the state of Oklahoma,” Griffin said.

She said there is confusion about exactly what’s required.

“It’s a voluntary public information campaign. We are asking businesses to choose to help us link pregnant women with support services,” Griffin said.

Griffin said there’s nothing in the law to hurt businesses.

“There are no penalties, fines or a provision in the law to eliminate a license in this law. The health department must provide them with this information that they can post,” she said.

For now, the signs must be in place by January 2018.