Arizona HB 2625, Bill Allowing ANY Employer to FIRE Women Who Use Birth Control, Advances in Senate
A proposed piece of legislation passed by the Arizona House of Representatives and currently making its way through the Senate would allow any employer to deny women coverage for contraception and permit them to fire female employees who use birth control pills.
According to the Arizona Republic, HB 2625 makes it okay for both religious and secular employers to deny health coverage for contraception if said employers object to birth control for moral reasons.
Worse, the bill eliminates this crucial anti-discrimination provision of current law:
“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”
That means that, if passed, Arizona employers could fire women who are using contraception for birth control, not other medical reasons.
“I personally don’t have a moral objection to contraceptives but I respect the people that do,” Rep. Debbie Lesko, the Republican who introduced the measure, told KTVK 3. “House Bill 2625 allows Arizona employers to opt out of the contraceptive mandate if they have a religious or moral objection”
But Arizona already has a law that permits religious employers to deny workers contraception coverage for religious reasons. HB 2625 would expand that prerogative to all employers, and that has got many people alarmed.
“I think this just goes to what we’ve been saying about the bill,” ACLU of Arizona Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham told the Arizona Republic. “It isn’t really about guaranteeing an individual’s religious liberty but ultimately is about eliminating access as much as possible to basic health services for women.”
“A lot of women require contraception for a variety of serious conditions things like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, conditions that can be very dangerous,” Abraham told KTVK 3.
“It would just open the door to every employer and every insurer in Yuma County to superimpose his or her values on the major health care decisions available to the women of Yuma County,” Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told the Yuma Sun.
Howard said that if the bill becomes law, women in rural areas could be particularly affected.
“Fortunately in Yuma County we have the Planned Parenthood health center where we have affordable contraception,” he told the Sun. “But in places like Lake Havasu City, or towns that are farther away from health centers, accessing affordable contraception could be a real barrier.”
HB 2625 passed the Arizona House earlier this month by a vote of 39-18. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure on Monday; it now heads to a full Senate vote before being sent on to Republican Governor Jan Brewer if passed.
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