Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

State News

August 19, 2013

Judge blocks Okla. morning-after pill restrictions

Oklahoma County — An Oklahoma County judge Monday blocked a new state law that restricts access to the morning-after pill.

District Judge Lisa Davis granted a temporary restraining order preventing enforcement of the law, which was scheduled to take effect Thursday.  

The order was requested by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice alleging the law is unconstitutional and discriminates against Oklahoma women.

Martha Skeeters, president of the coalition, said she was pleased with the judge’s action.

“The outcome today is good news for the health of Oklahoma women,” Skeeters said.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose office defended the law, had no immediate comment.

The federal government has approved the emergency contraceptive for unrestricted over-the-counter sales.

Oklahoma’s law, however, requires women 17 and older to show identification to a pharmacist to obtain the Plan B One-Step pill and generic emergency contraceptives. It also requires women under 17 to have a prescription to obtain them.

The Oklahoma Legislature passed the law — which primarily deals with regulations regarding health insurance benefit forms — last spring, and it received bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Gov. Mary Fallin signed it on May 29.

The lawsuit is the latest challenge to anti-abortion and related legislation adopted by the Republican-controlled Oklahoma Legislature by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

In December, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down laws challenged by the group that required women seeking abortions to see an ultrasound image while they hear a description of the fetus and also banned off-label use of certain abortion-inducing drugs.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Pruitt’s request that it review the decision about the abortion-inducing drugs law, which mandated that doctors only prescribe abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486 as authorized by directions spelled out on a government-approved label.

 

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