January 24, 2014 — An Oklahoma judge on Thursday overturned a state law (HB 2226) that restricts access to emergency contraception, ruling that it is unconstitutional, NewsOK reports (Dinger, NewsOK, 1/24).
The law mainly deals with regulations regarding health insurance benefit forms, but one section bars individuals younger than age 17 from obtaining EC without a prescription. The law also requires individuals ages 17 and older to show a form of identification to purchase EC (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/20/13).
Oklahoma District Judge Lisa Davis said the two sections involving EC and health insurance are not germane and violate the state's single-subject rule, siding with the plaintiffs' arguments (Talley, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/23).
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Jo Ann Mangili, the mother of a 15-year-old girl. The suit argued that the law is unconstitutional and discriminatory because it imposes restrictions on a form of contraception used only by women.
The suit also alleged that the legislation is invalid because the bill addressed more than one topic, violating the state constitution's single-subject rule.
The law was set to take effect in August, but Oklahoma District Judge Lisa Davis granted the plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction, saying that they had a strong likelihood of winning at trial (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/20/13).
Latest Strike Against Okla. Women's Health Restrictions
Thursday's ruling represents the latest judicial loss for Oklahoma, which has had other antiabortion-rights laws overturned the last few years.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2012 struck down a law (HB 2780) that required a woman to view an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus prior to an abortion. In a separate case, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a state ruling that struck down restrictions on medication abortion (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/23).