In May, 2013 the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 2226. This new law told females under age 17 that they must have a doctor’s prescription for getting over-the-counter emergency contraception (called Plan B or the morning after pill). This contraception if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex will most likely prevent pregnancy but will not terminate an existing pregnancy.
However, getting an appointment with a doctor for a prescription could cause unacceptable delays.
Equally bad, a female age 17 and older must prove her age with identification which she may or may not have.
Thankfully, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights joined the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice in filing a court challenge to this new law.
In response, on January 23, Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis struck down this new law. She called it unconstitutional because it violates the single-subject provision of the Oklahoma Constitution. Specifically, the Oklahoma Constitution declares that “Every act of the Legislature shall embrace but one subject.” However, section one of the new-law-in-question deals with insurance regulation and section two deals with prescription drug benefits.
Judge Davis was simply following the law --- the Constitution’s ban on multiple subjects in one bill.
Finally, the legislature has passed a barrage of bills over the last few years which oppose abortion. One would assume that abortion foes would be among the strongest proponents of all types of contraception. Or maybe it’s all about controlling women’s bodies?
Wanda Jo Stapleton
Former State Representative