GOP War on Women, 2012. Arizona Doubles Down

I know we’ve all gotten used to insane misogyny from the Republican party this year.  Still, you may want to sit down, take a deep breath, and put your drink away before reading this one.

Arizona has decided forcing women to have medically unnecessary ultrasounds and severely limiting abortion services didn’t quite send women the proper message*.  So now, contraception is on the table.  From the HuffPo:

Arizona legislators have advanced an unprecedented bill that would require women who wish to have their contraception covered by their health insurance plans to prove to their employers that they are taking it to treat medical conditions. The bill also makes it easier for Arizona employers to fire a woman for using birth control to prevent pregnancy despite the employer’s moral objection.

Under current law, health plans in Arizona that cover other prescription medications must also cover contraception. House Bill 2625, which the state House of Representatives passed earlier this month and the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed on Monday, repeals that law and allows any employer to refuse to cover contraception that will be used “for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.” If a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered, she has to “submit a claim” to her employer providing evidence of a medical condition, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, that can be treated with birth control.

The sponsor of the bill told the committee that it is intended to protect the First Amendment right to religious liberty.

“I believe we live in America,” said Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), who sponsored the bill. “We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Okay, first of all, where the fuck do they find these women?  Lesko’s comment sounds like something Palin would say on a bad day.  Second, fire you for taking birth control?  That can’t be right.  What does the ACLU have to say about this?

And we aren’t talking here just about exemptions for religiously affiliated employers like Catholic hospitals and universities. We are talking about authorizing secular, for-profit employers to deny a woman coverage for birth control if the employer doesn’t believe that she and her partner should be allowed to have sex without getting pregnant. Yup, that’s right. If the owner of the Taco Bell where you work opposes birth control, Arizona legislators want to give him a legal right to deny you insurance coverage for your pills.

Sadly, that isn’t even the half of it. You may want to sit down for this one. Arizona legislators know that whether or not her insurance covers it, a woman may get the prescription she needs to prevent an unintended pregnancy. They want to give her boss the right to control that too. The bill they are pushing would not only allow employers to take the insurance coverage away, but it would also make it easier for an employer who finds out that his employee uses birth control to fire her. You heard me right . . . to fire her.

Wait, what?  They have to be mistaken.  Maybe the Daily Kos has a better understanding of the bill:

But it’s more than that. In his Arizona Republic column today, Ed Montini points out that the revised legislation omits a short but important section that was part of the original bill’s language. Twice in the current bill, the one that’s already passed the House, you’ll see this sentence deleted near the end. Here’s the way it appears in the bill now:

A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.

If you have trouble reading that, it used to say:

A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.

Got that? They removed language that said employers cannot discriminate against workers who use contraception, unless the employees can show proof they’re only using birth control for medical reasons. As it stands, the current bill not only exempts employers from having to provide contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plan, it also removes protections for employees who seek their own birth control remedies elsewhere. What kind of protections? You name it: your job, promotions, raises, benefits, working conditions.

Oh for fucks sake.  Republicans claim that they care about the economy, about jobs, but once they have power they show that what they really care about is getting into women’s pants so they can control everything that goes on in that mysterious, sinful location.  What’s next?  Virginity checks?


*Apparently the “proper message” is “close your legs and get back in the kitchen.”



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