On Monday, Arizona state Senate President Steve Pierce (R) announced that he is removing a bill from the Senate committee agenda that would give employers the right to refuse coverage for contraception under their insurance. Senator Pierce indicated that he removed the bill from the agenda due to public opposition and statements from Governor Jan Brewer (R) that she "certainly would probably agree with the majority of people that would be a little bit uncomfortable for a woman to have to go to her employer and tell him or her their private health issues."
House Bill 2625 would have allowed employers to cite moral or religious reasons to exempt employees from birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The bill includes an exception for employees who can prove that they need contraception for a use other than pregnancy prevention, such as to treat endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome. If passed, the bill would have required employees to pay out of pocket for contraception. They would have been eligible for reimbursement only after submitting medical records to their employer to prove medical necessity.
The bill also would have removed a provision in current state law that prohibits religious employers from discriminating against an employee who chooses to use contraceptives and pay for them out of pocket. The bill passed the Arizona House with a 39-18 vote.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 3/20/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/16/12
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