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Arizona Senate to Vote on Proposed Birth Control Bill
An unprecedented bill has been advanced by Arizona lawmakers that would make it a law to have women prove to their employers that their contraception is being taken to treat medical problems if they want the contraception covered by health insurance. The bill, if signed into law, would make it easier for an employer in Arizona to fire a woman who is using contraception for pregnancy prevention even though the employer might morally object to the idea.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 2625 in early March and was endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday of this week. The bill repeals the current law and allows employers to refuse to cover an employee’s contraception use via health insurance. Should a woman want to have the contraception covered under health insurance she would need to submit a claim that proves it is being used for a condition such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
“The bill goes beyond guaranteeing a person’s rights to express and practice their faith,” Anjali Abraham, a lobbyist for the ACLU said. “And instead it lets employers prioritize their beliefs over the beliefs, the interests, the needs of their employees, in this case, particularly, female employees.”
The bill’s sponsor said that the goal of the bill is to protect the right to religious liberty from the First Amendment.
“I believe we live in America,” Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale) said. Lesko sponsored the bill originally. “We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”
The bill proposed by Lesko is different from other bills proposed in the state and across the country as it differentiates between birth control that is being used for pregnancy prevention and birth control that is being used for medical reasons. Should the bill become a law, women will have to share personal medical information, which at times could be embarrassing, with their employers in an effort to get the prescription for the birth control covered by health insurance.
A resident from Glendale, Arizona, Lisa Love, was able to testify in front of the committee regarding her polycystic ovarian syndrome so she could prove to the committee how private some of these issues can be for women.
“I wouldn’t mind showing my employer my medical records,” she said, “but there are ten women behind me that would be ashamed to do so.”
The bill will now hit the Senate floor for a full vote.Arizona Senate to Vote on Proposed Birth Control Bill by Jim Vassallo