Oklahoma May Require Restroom Signs in Anti-Abortion Effort | NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Oklahoma May Require Restroom Signs in Anti-Abortion Effort

The signs would direct women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP, Sue Ogrocki
    FILE - In this May 4, 2015, file photo, Oklahoma state Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, is seated on the Senate floor in Oklahoma City. Griffin is sponsor of a bill that would force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state. The State Board of Health will consider regulations for the signs on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. The signs must be posted by January 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

    Oklahoma plans to force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state.

    The State Board of Health will consider regulations for the signs on Tuesday. Businesses and other organizations will have to pay an estimated $2.3 million to put up the signs because the Legislature didn't approve any money for them.

    Five Viral Moments From Trump's Trip Abroad

    [NATL] Five Viral Moments From Trump's Trip Abroad

    President Donald Trump's first trip abroad since taking office has been filled with viral moments. Here are five that had people talking and tweeting.

    (Published Thursday, May 25, 2017)

    The provision for the signs was tucked into a law that the Legislature passed this year that requires the state to develop informational material "for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society." The signs must be posted by January 2018.

    Groups representing hospitals and restaurants are among those complaining that the new requirements are an expensive, unfunded mandate from the Legislature.

    "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," said Jim Hooper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association. "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 anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life requested the bill. The sponsor, Sen. A.J. Griffin, said she may revise the measure in the upcoming legislative session to more narrowly target it to exclude some facilities.

    Airborne Jeep Slams Into Occupied Home

    [NATL] Airborne Jeep Slams Into Occupied Home

    A Jeep flew into the side of a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, duplex Thursday morning, to the disbelief of a tenant who was sleeping inside. 

    (Published Friday, May 26, 2017)

    "I do see how it is going to need to be tempered a tad," said Griffin, a Republican from Guthrie. "We need to make sure we have something that's reasonable and still effective."

    Under the law, the signs would state: "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 also include a link to the Health Department's website.

    In written comments provided to the Health Department, the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy called the proposed regulations "completely unnecessary and unwanted" and said they would provide a significant financial burden on already stressed state agencies, including the departments of Health and Education.

    Don Maisch, an attorney for the State Department of Health who has worked on the rules, said the signage requirements apply to public restrooms of any entity that is regulated by the agency, including hospitals, hotels and motels, nursing homes, residential care facilities and most public schools.

    "There is definitely a cost involved in moving forward with this," Maisch said.

    The Oklahoma Hospital Association projected it would cost at least $225,000 for signage at the state's 140 licensed hospitals, with the fiscal impact on other licensed industries estimated at about $2.1 million.

    Tony Lauinger, executive director of Oklahomans for Life, said the group's intent was for the Health Department to produce the signage, but only if the Legislature appropriated funds to do so.