Judge Blocks Oklahoma Morning-After Pill Law

Aug 19, 2013

Credit David Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma judge has blocked legislation that would have restricted access to over the counter emergency contraceptives in the state.

Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis granted a temporary restraining order this morning stopping the new law that would have required girls under the age of 17 to have a prescription before a pharmacist would give them the “morning after” pill.

Under the law, women over the age of 17 would have had to show identification before receiving the over-the-counter medication called Plan B One-Step. David Brown, staff attorney with the national Center for Reproductive Rights, argues against the law’s enforcement.

"There is no other state in the country that has enacted these kinds of restrictions on Plan B," Brown says. "So this will ensure that Oklahoma women enjoy the same access to Plan B in order to prevent unintended pregnancies that women and teens in every other state enjoy."

The federal government approved the medication for unrestricted over-the-counter sale in June of this year. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice was a plaintiff in the case. Martha Skeeters is the organization’s president.

"This ruling will help to prevent unintended pregnancies among all women in Oklahoma," Skeeters says. "Particularly among teens, which is very important given that Oklahoma is 7th among states for teen pregnancy."

In granting the order blocking the law from taking effect, Judge Davis said it was likely the legislation violated the single subject rule of the Oklahoma Constitution. But Patrick Wyrick, the solicitor general for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office argued the sections of the law each deal with access to medications.

The law was supposed to go into effect on Thursday.