It seems like once we get rid of some ridiculous law restricting reproductive rights for women here in Oklahoma another law emerges that’s even more crazier than the last one.
Ladies, while you are in the bathroom, don't self abort. Oklahoma Requiring Anti-Abortion Signs in Public Restrooms https://t.co/QZjI9i1cn3
— Laura Newman (@lauranewmanny) December 13, 2016
So it goes in Oklahoma.
The good news is that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled invalid or “unconstitutional,” whatever the means in this weird place these days, a new law that would have required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. It was a slam dunk 9-0 decision and follows a similar ruling on a similar Texas law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was never about women’s health. Anyone who says that is a liar. Doctors or anyone can dial 911 just like anyone else, and emergency medical situations rarely come up at abortion clinics. This law created by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin was to restrict abortion in the state. That was its only purpose. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or perhaps not very bright.
Fallin basically admitted this in a statement about the ruling:
“I’m disappointed to see another pro-life law stuck down by the courts. Like many bills passed in Oklahoma, this bill was designed to protect the health and welfare of the mother along with the life of the unborn, which always should be among our society’s priorities.”
Unfold all of the layers of the tricky phrase “the life of the unborn” for some rhetorical insight into the right-wing movement to make abortion illegal here in Oklahoma and elsewhere, which has become a possibility because of Donald Trump’s election as president and his probable U.S. Supreme Court appointments.
That’s the good news, for a brief second in history, although it doesn’t mean those of us who support reproductive freedom and women’s basic right to control their own bodies have won some sort of sweeping victory by any means. Who knows what’s coming down the road on the abortion issue under the misogynistic and racist Trump?
But it was reported Tuesday that a new law local “mainstream” journalists seemed aware of until now will require facilities like schools, restaurants, hospitals and even nursing homes to place anti-abortions signs in their restrooms. Here’s the language that may end up on these signs:
“There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you carry your child to term and assist you after your child is born, whether you keep your child or place him or her for adoption. The state of Oklahoma strongly urges you to contact them if you are pregnant.”
First, that language is a huge lie and anyone who wrote those sentences or participated in the creation and editing of those sentences is an immoral person. There are not “many” agencies that will help a young mother out in Oklahoma or assist in adoption. In fact, Republicans pushing for the signs are also more than likely to seek even more cuts to social agencies that actually help pregnant women, mothers and their children. Second, note the lack of specificity in describing all those “many” supposedly helpful organizations. What agencies? The Department of Human Services? Right. This terribly underfunded state agency doesn’t have the money to help. Some anti-abortion cult outfit run by crazy people who are tied to the Southern Baptist Church here or some other religious group? Hey, look, I’m a Oklahoma taxpayer, and I don’t “strongly urge” anyone to contact some generic agencies about anything. I might urge someone to contact a specific organization for help on any issue. That’s my point. It has to be specific. How do we define “the state of Oklahoma.” That language doesn’t represent me or define me even though I’ve been here for a long, long time. Finally, and this is perhaps most important, the overall sign is obviously aimed at making pregnant females feel guilty if they’re thinking about getting an abortion.
I’m also unsure why these signs have to be in restrooms. What is the connection between bathrooms and abortions? Is it because bathrooms offer private physical space and we have to keep this hush hush? Why not place the signs in a hallways? Is it because women in droves are performing abortions on themselves in public restrooms? That’s not happening. I’m entirely against this whole thing, of course, but why not just show the signs like permits with small type and tucked them away in some corner, like the results of an annual health inspection report no one is going to read.
Here’s the kicker on this ridiculous new dumb Okie law: The Oklahoma Legislature didn’t appropriate any money for the signs so some private businesses may well have to pay for this senseless political campaign whether their owners agree with the overall anti-abortion message or not. Those politicians supporting the signs admit the law needs to be tweaked, but that’s hardly encouraging as Trump assumes the presidency.
Under the coming Trump corporate, autocratic dynasty, expect red states to go even more radical with the anti-abortion effort. We could eventually not only see government anti-abortion signs plastered everywhere we go in Oklahoma, but, well, as I mentioned, abortion may well become illegal here so it won’t even matter. I guess the extremists would then have to take out the “Oklahoma” reference in the signs and maybe refer to places that keep abortion legal, such as California or New York as in “don’t go there” to exercise the right of reproductive freedom, but then that change will cost even more money.