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Oklahoma rights group challenges law limiting sale of emergency contraception

The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice (OCRJ) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [case information] in the Oklahoma County District Court on Thursday to block enforcement of HB 2226 [text, PDF], a state law limiting the availability of "morning-after" emergency contraceptives. Specifically, the law forbids pharmacists from dispensing emergency contraceptives to women younger than 17 unless they have a prescription. Pharmacists may still provide emergency contraceptives to women 17 and older without a prescription. The OCRJ argues [press release] that the law clearly violates the Oklahoma Constitution s "single-subject rule" [text], which provides that all laws passed by Oklahoma's legislature may only "embrace" one subject, which should be clearly expressed in its title. HB 2226 began [legislative materials] as a bill concerned with regulating health insurance benefit forms, but the emergency contraception language was added in May shortly before it was signed into law.

The lawsuit is the latest challenge to reproductive rights-related legislation adopted in Oklahoma. In July JURIST Guest Columnist Adam Banner discussed [JURIST op-ed] an order by the US Supreme Court [official website] for the Oklahoma Supreme Court [official website] to clarify its ruling [JURIST reports] in Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice v. Cline [opinion], which ruled that Oklahoma's HB 1970 [text], a law attempting to regulate the use of "abortion-inducing" pills, was an undue burden on a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.

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