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Judge Strikes Down Emergency Contraception Law in Okla.

Judge Strikes Down Emergency Contraception Law in Okla.

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).

Lawsuit Details

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).