NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE: OKLAHOMA LAW RESTRICTING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION VIOLATES STATE CONSTITUTION, DISCRIMINATES AGAINST WOMEN
Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice is plaintiff in lawsuit seeking to block law preventing over-the-counter sales of emergency contraceptive
August 8, 2013—The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice is a plaintiff in a new lawsuit filed today by the Center for Reproductive Rights challenging the constitutionality of an Oklahoma state law placing unnecessary barriers on women’s access to emergency contraception. OCRJ isa membership organization dedicated to promoting reproductive justice through education, empowerment, and advocacy. Jo Ann Mangili, an Oklahoma mother of a teen daughter, is also a plaintiff.
HB 2226 began as a bill concerned with regulating health insurance benefit forms, but came to include an unrelated and discriminatory provision requiring women 17 and older to show identification to a pharmacist in order to obtain Plan B One-Step and generic emergency contraceptives and requiring those under 17 to have a prescription to obtain them.
The legal challenge argues the law clearly violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s “single-subject rule” and discriminates against Oklahoma women by imposing arbitrary and unjustified restrictions on a form of contraception used only by women.
“This is part of a continued campaign against women’s reproductive rights by anti-women legislators in the Oklahoma legislature,”said Martha Skeeters, OCRJ President. “Women in Oklahoma deserve the same reproductive health care as all other women living in the United States. It has taken over a decade for women in this country to see emergency contraception sold on the shelves without restriction, and Oklahoma women shouldn’t have to wait even longer.”
HB 2226, which was signed by Governor Mary Fallin on May 29, attempts to reinstaterestrictions on access to emergency contraception which have been removed by the FDA, thus imposing unique limits on Oklahoma women’s ability to get the medication.
“It is shameful that hostile politicians want to stand in the way of women’s greater access to safe and effective birth control in Oklahoma just as the federal government is taking momentous steps to make emergency contraception available to millions of women throughout the country,” said Marion Homier, OCRJ Vice-President.
Following a decade-long legal battle led by the Center for Reproductive Rights and a federal court order, the FDA finally approved a widely-used brand of emergency contraception—Plan B One-Step—for unrestricted, over the counter sale on June 20. As of August 1, the product is currently available in the family planning aisle of pharmacy and grocery store shelves across the country, including Oklahoma, to women of all ages.
The Oklahoma Legislature has a long history of violating the state constitution’s single-subject rule, with the Oklahoma Supreme Court having struck down five different laws in the last five years on those grounds.
“The legislature is wasting tax-payers’ money,” said Judy Drury of the OCRJ board. “By discriminating against women and disobeying the single subject rule, these anti-woman legislators have invited a constitutional challenge. Now the state must pay to defend a law that is blatantly unconstitutional.”
Petition attached below