Thursday, December 26, 2013

You Have a Voice. You Have a Choice.

                Each year, Oklahoma sees the proposal or passage of at least a few anti-choice laws. This is unfortunately something we have come to count on. With the New Year upon us, pro-choice advocates across the state wonder, what will 2014 bring?

                This year we worried over minors losing the option of Judicial Bypass to gain access to abortion care, last year our stomachs turned over the Personhood bill, and in the 2011 session we winced at the passage of a 20 week abortion ban. Of these bills, only the out-right ban on abortion known as “Personhood” was successfully defeated.

                It’s a sad truth that with the New Year comes a new fight at the capitol over a woman’s right to choose. It’s frustrating, and hurtful, and disappointing to watch the Oklahoma Legislature argue away our options for family planning, but don’t fret! You can help.

                We here at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma are keeping a vigilant eye on the capitol and we hope you will too! We encourage you to learn more about what your representatives represent and read about the bills that come up for debate in the 2014 session. Know that you do not have to take these attacks lying down.

Here are a few tools to help you stay informed and support family planning through the upcoming legislative session:

·         Visit: to read about proposed bills and learn how to contact your representatives.
·         Email to join PPCO’s Action Alert mailer. Email with the subject line, “Add me to the Action Alert list” and you will receive email alerts about actions taken at the Oklahoma capitol that threaten family planning, as well as tips on how you can be part of the concerted effort to stop them.
·         Write to your representatives! Let them know who you are and how strongly you favor the right to choose. Use social media (no joke, your representatives are probably on twitter!), use email, write a letter, or train a carrier pigeon. Do whatever it takes to make your voice heard.
·         Stay generally informed. Read both local and national coverage of family planning issues. Keep up with what is going on and share the news with your friends and family.

Together, we can protect family planning and a woman’s right to choose in Oklahoma. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ultrasound Law is Unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case on Oklahoma’s ultrasound law, allowing the Oklahoma court decision, that the law is unconstitutional, to stand. This is the second major anti-choice law to be declared unconstitutional in as many weeks, an almost unprecedented event in Oklahoma. Both cases were challenged by The Center for Reproductive Rights and The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice.

The law, challenged in 2010, would have forced doctors to show patients seeking abortions an ultrasound of the fetus. Laws like these are methods of increasing both the financial and emotional cost of abortions. Though we have seen a spike in this type of legislation in recent years, we are beginning to see many of these reproductive-rights-restricting laws being successfully challenged and defeated in court.

As we look forward to the upcoming legislative session, these failed anti-choice laws set a great precedent for legislators who year after year decline to let women manage their own family planning. We owe The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice a big thank you for taking up these cases and defending women’s freedom of choice in Oklahoma!

Learn more about these court decisions:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pro-Choice Oklahoman’s Have Reason to Celebrate (For Once)!

Big news on women's health in Oklahoma! 

In a rare victory, Oklahoman pro-choice advocates saw a major abortion restriction lifted this week. An antiquated Oklahoma law that put unreasonable restrictions on abortion inducing drugs has been struck down for good. Women in Oklahoma now have full access to safe and legal medication induced abortion. This is big news because this type of abortion is among the safest and least invasive methods of terminating a pregnancy. 

Thank You, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices!

The law was ruled unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court last December, but the ruling was challenged. This week the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case, allowing the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling to stand. The law in question required doctors to abide by very outdated FDA standards of use, which required doctors to use 3 times the dose medically necessary to induce abortion, it required women see their doctors three times to receive the medication, and it outlawed use past 7 weeks (differing from the medical community’s opinion that the medication is safe up to 9 weeks).

The restrictions were proposed under the guise of “protecting women’s health” but clearly it does just the opposite so we couldn’t be happier to see it go. Victories in the fight for reproductive justice are few and far between in Oklahoma so in the spirit of bodily autonomy, CHEERS!

Thanks to the 
Center for Reproductive Rights legal team and theOklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice serving as plaintiffs!

Learn more about medication abortions:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Is Oklahoma Home to the Next Abortion Rights Challenge?

Oklahoma might just be home to the next big case to expand or restrict access to abortion care. A 2011 law restricting drug induced abortions has been challenged and could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In June the US Supreme Court agreed to review an Oklahoma law regulating the use of abortion inducing drugs and the law remains up for review currently. Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional, but without a formal explanation the law required further scrutiny. The drugs, known as Mifeprex and Misoprostol, are used to terminate pregnancies in the first three months by inducing miscarriage and they have shown to be safe. The Oklahoma legislature signed regulations of this procedure into law in 2011 but the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice (OCRJ) argues that the law creates “undue burden” on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

This case is tricky because the law in question appears reasonable. The Oklahoma law simply states that doctors must strictly abide by FDA protocol for Mifeprex approved in 2000. Taken at face value the law appears to protect women’s health, but according to many medical doctors it does just the opposite.

FDA labeling from 2000 requires that Mifeprex be prescribed in 600 mg doses in the presence of a doctor. Today, 13 years after the FDA approval, doctors have a very different idea of how the early term abortion educing drug can and should be used. Doctors now understand that the drug works effectively and safely in 200 mg doses. As the law stands, doctors are required to prescribe patients three times the needed dosage, an unnecessarily excessive amount. These regulations create risk for women seeking early term, non-surgical abortions and thusly discourage doctors from prescribing the risky dose.

Furthermore doctors understand that patents can take the second dose (misoprostol) at home. The FDA label requires women to visit their doctor a minimum of three times (one visit for each dose and a follow up), which can prove difficult to low income women or those who live far away from Oklahoma’s few abortion care providers. FDA protocol bans doctors from prescribing the drug after 49 days of gestation, however many doctors agree that the drug is safely and effectively administered within 63 days of gestation.

These regulations are cleverly masked as safety standards. Instead they actually put women at more medical risk and intentionally limit access to safe, legal abortion procedures. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, in conjunction with the Center for Reproductive Rights, has taken the Oklahoma law to the Supreme Court on the grounds that it creates unconstitutional barriers to access. The ‘war on choice’ has aimed to restrict women’s basic human right to control their own bodies and these restrictions are nothing more than a twist on old tactics of limiting abortion access. This case could finally grant some clarity on the legality underhanded legislation aiming to stop women who chose abortion from practicing their right to do so.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Why Women Aren’t Being ‘Selfish’ When They Wait Longer To Have Kids

Why Women Aren’t Being ‘Selfish’ When They Wait Longer To Have Kids: Yet another article has been published bemoaning the declining birthrate in the United States. Perhaps as a result of treating anecdotal evidence gathered from four people at a hookah bar as if it were actual research, this latest piece gets a number of things wrong. According to the authors, young people no longer want to [...]/p