Oklahoma lawmaker abandons anti-abortion bathroom signs law

An Oklahoma Republican lawmaker on Friday abandoned a measure that would have required public bathrooms display anti-abortion signs after an outcry from businesses and health providers because of the estimated cost.

Republican Sen. A.J. Griffin, who had sponsored the original bill passed by the Legislature, proposed an amendment that would require the signs only at abortion providers and direct the state Department of Health to launch a social media campaign on how to avoid abortions.

The State Board of Health on Tuesday approved regulations requiring posting of the signs in public bathrooms at hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools advising pregnant women where to find services to avoid abortion. Griffin said the department is now being asked to halt any further work toward implementing the regulations while her new proposal is considered.

"It was never intended to be a burden on businesses or health providers," Griffin said in a statement. "Changing to a social media campaign will actually broaden the reach and make linking pregnant women to services even more visible."

Griffin said the changes preserve the intent of the law while responding to private businesses concerned about a cost estimated at $2.3 million.

Republicans hold overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, as well as the governor's office.