By Dave Andrusko
Anytime–emphasis on anytime–pro-lifers find additional ways to help an abortion-minded woman understand the development of the child she is carrying and that she has options beyond abortion, the first response is a mixture of anger and ridicule.
Abortion is a woman’s “right,” she’s made up her mind, and any “interference” is not only uncalled for, it is unconstitutional.
Or so the pro-abortion response invariably goes.
Enter what critics dismiss as Oklahoma’s “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,” according to the Associated Press. On Tuesday, the State Board of Health approved regulations for the signs, igniting another round of criticism.
So I asked Tony Lauinger, State Chairman, Oklahomans For Life, to explain the objective of the sign requirement and how it is, in fact, constitutionally permissible. He wrote back the following:
“The ‘Humanity of the Unborn Child Act’ is premised on the principle affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its Maher v. Roe ruling, in which the Court held that the U.S. Constitution imposes ‘no limitation on the authority of a State to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds.’
“The law’s focus is public education to foster increased awareness of the growth and development of a baby during the nine months before birth. When young people, in particular, have a good understanding – in advance – of the biological development and humanity of the unborn child, they are much less likely to view abortion as an acceptable ‘solution’ to an unwanted pregnancy. A major objective of the law is to reach students in public schools with pro-life educational material.
Another objective of the law, Lauinger said, “is to reach pregnant women with information about services, organizations, and agencies that can provide life-affirming help and support with a challenging pregnancy. The public-service information on signs posted in facilities inspected by the state Department of Health is a component of this goal of increasing awareness among a broader audience of the availability of life-affirming services. ”
How does that fit in with our Movement’s mission, I asked?
“Ultimately, the pro-life movement is engaged in an effort to reach the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens – especially the young,” Lauinger said. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are not required to be neutral between life and death. We are free to come down on the side of life.”
The Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, he concluded, “represents a tangible way for Oklahoma to do that.”