The Center is challenging an Oklahoma law that unconstitutionally restricts adults and teens’ access to over-the-counter emergency contraceptives, by requiring adult women to show ID to a pharmacist to buy them, and teens under 17 to first get a prescription from a doctor.
Filing Date: 8/8/2013
Plaintiff(s): Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Jo Ann Mangili
Center Attorney(s): David Brown, Stephanie Toti, Tiseme Zegeye
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Anne Zachritz (Oklahoma City), Martha Hardwick (Tulsa)
Summary: On August 8, 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a challenge against Oklahoma legislation which requires women 17 and over to show ID to a pharmacist before buying Plan B One-Step, a safe and effective over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, and which requires teens under 17 to obtain a prescription.The FDA has approved Plan B One-Step for over-the-counter sale for all women and teens of child-bearing potential. Clinical trials and scientific studies have concluded that Plan B One-Step is effective at preventing pregnancy, that it is one of the safest over-the-counter drugs available, and that women and teens are completely capable of taking it without needing to first consult a doctor. However, Plan B One-Step is more likely to work the sooner it is taken, and it is generally not effective after seventy-two hours.
The Center is challenging Oklahoma House Bill 2226 on the grounds that the law violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s “single-subject rule”—which was designed to prevent abuses of power by the legislature and limits state laws to address only one issue at a time—and discriminates against Oklahoma women by imposing arbitrary and unjustified restrictions on a form of contraception used only by women. The challenged law is a last-minute addition to a law the Oklahoma legislature passed concerning insurance forms. It bypassed the democratic safeguards that Oklahoma Constitution guarantees the people of Oklahoma, and which Oklahoma legislators are obliged to follow. It also violates the due process guarantee and other protections of the Oklahoma Constitution by imposing unjustified burdens on Oklahomans’ right to use the forms of contraception that they require to protect against unintended pregnancy. The statute also violates the equal protection guarantee of the Oklahoma Constitution by discriminating on the basis of sex.
The Center filed this challenge in the Oklahoma District Court for Oklahoma County.