Oklahoma lawmakers have approved regulations that will require any state-licensed establishment with public restrooms to post signs that urge women not to have an abortion.
While that is obviously fucking absurd and maybe even unconstitutional, there's another remarkable aspect of the new law: businesses will have to pay for the signs.
The signs would be installed before January 2018 in all facilities licensed by the state Department of Health with restrooms that are available to the public.
The regulation is expected to cost affected businesses an estimated $2.3 million because the Oklahoma Legislature did not approve any money to fund sign posting, prompting complaints from business owners. Even the sponsor of the bill considered revising the requirements.
For small businesses of meager means it may not be an option, but larger business may want to consider challenging this regulation in court.
I may be a legal layman, but forcing businesses to display signs that point women toward anti-science, anti-abortion "life-affirming services" seems like a clear violation of free speech and religion under the First Amendment. Forcing businesses to pay for these political propaganda signs adds insult to injury.
It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to picture how Republicans would react if a Democratic government required businesses to display signs (and pay for them) that direct women toward abortion services.