March 7, 2014 — The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved a bill (SB 1219) that would prohibit individuals younger than age 17 from purchasing emergency contraception without a prescription, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. The measure now moves to the state House (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/5).
A state judge earlier this year overturned a law (HB 2226) that, among other provisions, also prohibited individuals younger than age 17 from obtaining EC without a prescription. The judge said the law violated the state's single-subject rule and that its two sections involving EC and health insurance were not germane (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/24).
Under federal rules, EC can be sold over-the-counter without age restrictions (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/3).
Okla. Senate Debate
Democrats who voted against the latest legislation said restricting access to EC would lead to increased unwanted pregnancies, particularly for adolescents, and possibly abortions.
However, state Sen. Rob Standridge (R), the bill's author, argued that the measure is a "public-health issue, not a pro-life issue." He said EC is a powerful medication and its access should be limited for younger people (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/5).