Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, issued the following statement Tuesday on statutory language she authored aimed at helping provide information to Oklahoma women on a range of public and private sector services available as an alternative to abortion and to improve the health and well-being of unborn and newborn babies. That information would be compiled by the State Department of Health and made available through its website, with notification of that information and website link posted in public restrooms.
“Half of all pregnancies in Oklahoma are unplanned. The language I authored in House Bill 2797 simply seeks to let people know there are many resources available for those facing this situation and who think the only way to deal with it is abortion. But beyond that, we want to make sure they know where to turn for prenatal care and other services to help improve the health and well-being of their babies.
“Without proper prenatal care and other critical services, these children can be a tremendous risk for poor health, neglect, abuse and worse. Although there has been some improvement in the rate of infant deaths, Oklahoma is still among the worst states in the nation for infant mortality. Prenatal healthcare can make all the difference and it is available to those who can’t access it on their own, but many women don’t know where to go. And while our abortion rate is actually relatively low, each year there are still thousands of unborn children whose lives are ended through abortion. I believe many of those women felt like they had no alternative, but they’ll be haunted by the pain and guilt of that decision for the rest of their lives.
“As to the logistics of making information available through notifications in public restrooms, the language clearly states that this is contingent on the availability of funds being appropriated by the Legislature specifically for this purpose. Also, it should be pointed out that the bill included no fines or penalties—it really would be on an honor system. Furthermore, the cost I’ve seen reported—an estimated $2.3 million—seems far too high. But in the coming weeks and throughout the legislative session we will be listening to the concerns of our business community and working with them to ensure this effort to protect Oklahoma infants will not be overly burdensome.”—Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie