Judge blocks Oklahoma ban on emergency contraception

A judge has blocked an Oklahoma law that was in direct violation of new regulations on Plan B One-Step

By Katie McDonough
Published August 19, 2013 5:27PM (EDT)
         (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
(Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

After a long-fought and a hard-won battle to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter and without age or point-of-sale restrictions brought Plan B One-Step out from behind pharmacists' counters, several states across the country have been trying to keep safe contraception out of women's hands by passing laws to restrict access.

On Monday, a judge blocked the enforcement of one such law in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's law required women 17 and older to show identification to a pharmacist to obtain the Plan B One-Step pill and, in direct violation of the new regulations making Plan B One-Step (and, eventually, generic brands of emergency contraception) available to women and girls without restrictions, required women under 17 to have a prescription to obtain the pill.

David Brown, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization behind the suit, celebrated the ruling in a statement, saying that “once again Oklahoma politicians’ efforts to turn back the clock on women’s health and rights have been blocked."

As the Associated Press notes, the Oklahoma Supreme Court in December struck down another state law that would have forced women seeking abortions to see an ultrasound image while their doctors described the fetus to them, as well as another law that would have banned off-label use of certain abortion-inducing drugs and heavily restricted women's access to non-surgical abortions.

Brown pointed to this recent string of legal reproductive rights as "vindicating women’s fundamental right to the full range of essential reproductive health care," adding that he hopes the failures of these laws to hold up in court "will at last put an end to the assaults of politicians bent on stripping away rights that all women must be guaranteed."

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Contraception Emergency Contraception Reproductive Rights Women's Rights