Ariz. Bill Lets All Bosses Deny Birth Control Coverage

ACLU slams bill now before state Senate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2012 4:45 AM CDT
"This isn't the Soviet Union" says Arizona House Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, seen here being pinned by Girl Scouts in a Phoenix ceremony.   (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Dave Seibert)
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(Newser) – More contraception controversy: A bill before Arizona's Senate would allow all employers, not just faith-based ones, to exclude birth control from health insurance coverage. "We live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” one of the bill's Republican sponsors says. "So government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something that’s against their moral beliefs." The bill, crafted in response to federal legislation, has already passed the state House.

The bill makes an exception for women who need to use contraception for medical conditions like endometriosis, but the ACLU and other critics complain that using the exception would force women to share sensitive medical information with their employers, CNN notes. "We feel the bill goes beyond guaranteeing protections for religious liberties and into allowing an employer to prioritize his religious beliefs over the beliefs, needs, interests of his employees, particularly his female employees," an ACLU spokesman says. The wording of the bill has also raised fears that employers will be allowed to discriminate against any employee using birth control, even if it's not obtained through employer-funded coverage.

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