In a scathing critique of his Republican colleagues in the Oklahoma state Legislature, Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove) questioned his party's efforts to restrict women's access to birth control.
"All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog," Cox wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in NewsOK. "In the real world, they are less than perfect."
"And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman's path to escaping the shackles of poverty," added Cox, a practicing physician who has delivered more than 800 babies, according to NewsOK.
The Oklahoma Legislature has been one of the most aggressive nationwide in limiting access to contraception and family planning services. By law, abortion is not covered by private or public health insurance plans except when the mother's life is in danger or if an optional rider has been purchased. Legislators have also pushed bills that would require women under a certain age to obtain a prescription for the morning-after-pill. And last week, just days after a tornado swept through the town of Moore, killing 24 people, the state Senate in nearby Oklahoma City passed a measure that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood in the state.
"While the Oklahoma Legislature prides itself on its anti-abortion legislation, stopping funding to an organization that provides access to family planning to prevent unwanted pregnancies and putting obstacles between young women and safe, effective birth control methods make absolutely no sense," Cox wrote in The Huffington Post last week.
"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?" Cox lamented in his Wednesday op-ed. "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?"
Cox told HuffPost in an interview last week that his arguments have not always fallen on deaf ears, but sympathizers have not been willing to buck the party line.
"I have people who tell me they feel the way I do, but are afraid to vote the way I do," he said.