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
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .