Arizona legislators propose religious opt-out from mandated birth control coverage
President Obama got more than he bargained for when he proposed that all insurance carriers should be required to offer birth control pills for their female employees, whether it was against one’s conscience or not.
However, in Arizona, lawmakers would like to pass a bill – known as the Arizona Contraception Bill – that would allow all businesses to opt out of offering contraceptives.
Says Republican Arizona State Rep. Debbie Lesko, “Government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom-and-pop (businesses) to do something that’s against their moral beliefs.”
The bill would require women to tell their insurance carrier why they need birth control, allowing refusal if it is not to treat a medical condition. That way, if the woman needs it for something else – say, acne or treating cysts – she will still be able to attain it.
Arizona is one of twenty-six states that generally require insurance plans to cover contraceptives, but it also allows religious organizations to refuse. Under Obama’s mandate, that religious exemption would end.
This bill is under heavy fire from Democrats who say that it is not fair to women and that it will affect their privacy, but Lesko insists that “all my bill does is that an employer can opt out of the mandate if they have any religious objections.”