A vote in the Oklahoma state Senate on a bill that would allow employers to deny contraception and abortion coverage for women in insurance plans passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Senate Bill 452, introduced by Senator Clark Jolley (R) and Senator Pam Peterson (R), passed on a vote of nine to zero last Thursday.
The language of the bill states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of state or federal law, no employer shall be required to provide or pay for any benefit or service related to abortion or contraception through the provision of health insurance to his or her employees."
Jolley has said that the bill is the result of lobbying by Dr. Dominic Pedulla, a constituent who calls himself a natural family planning medical consultant and women's health researcher. His concern over contraceptive coverage stems from his belief that women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla told the Tulsa World. "Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother. They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn't bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies."
Despite Pedulla's concern that contraception is poisonous, oral birth control was first FDA approved in 1960 and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocate that birth control be available without a prescription.
Media Resources: Think Progress (2/22/13); Tulsa World (2/22/13); Oklahoma State Legislature