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Oklahoma judge strikes down emergency contraception law

An Oklahoma state court judge on Thursday ruled the state's emergency contraception law [HB 2226, PDF] unconstitutional. The law requires [AP report] women younger than 17 to obtain a prescription and show photo ID in order to receive Plan B One-Step and other generic emergency contraceptive pills. Women 17 and older would be allowed to receive the contraceptives over-the-counter. The law was passed in May as a response to the federal government making the contraceptive pills available over-the-counter to everyone. Opponents of the law argued it was overly restrictive, pointing out that it is the only law targeting emergency contraception in the nation. Supporters of the restriction claim they were seeking to maintain the status quo of Oklahoma.

Earlier this month Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued [JURIST report] an emergency temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of the contraception mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. Oklahoma's law has become increasingly controversial. The lawsuit [JURIST report] is the latest challenge to reproductive rights-related legislation adopted in Oklahoma. Prior to the passage of HB 2226 in May of this year, the text of the law was attached to another statute governing insurance forms. It was struck down for breaking the state's constitutional one-issue rule, requiring all laws to address only one subject. 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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