News Contraception

Oklahoma Republican: What Happened to Wanting Government Out of the Exam Room?

Robin Marty

An Oklahoma Republican wonders when supporting the prevention of unplanned pregnancies became "extremist" in the GOP.

It’s can be lonely being a moderate Republican these days, especially in very conservative states. For example, Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove) has expressed that in at least some ways his party has moved so far to the right that he does not recognize it anymore. The former medical practitioner wonders why in his own party, which sees government intrusion as anathema, it has become mainstream for legislators to attempt to deny contraceptive access.

“I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception,” lamented Rep. Cox in a letter to The Oklahoman. “A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the ‘morning after’ pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care.” He continued:

What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?

Oklahoma is bucking Food and Drug Administration guidelines by requiring a prescription for emergency contraception for anyone under age 17, and has stripped funding from Planned Parenthood and other public family planning providers and given it to hospitals and health-care centers to offer contraception instead. Rather than expand access in the hopes of preventing more pregnancies, state Republicans are making contraception more difficult to obtain.

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