The hits just keep coming. A new bill introduced into the Arizona House does two things: it contains Blunt-amendment-like language allowing employers to deny a woman coverage for contraceptives absent a prescription specifying their use for non-contraceptive purposes, and (this astonishes me) it would allow an employer to fire a woman if she sought contraceptives even if not through the employer-sponsored insurance plan. The latter is to be accomplished by removing the following protection from existing law:
“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”
The Arizona ACLU is on the case; here’s Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham:
“I think this just goes to what we’ve been saying about the bill,” she said. “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.”
I can’t imagine this proposed law does not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. But this is Arizona we’re talking about, and they seem ready to try it: the bill has already passed the state House and a Senate committee.
What sort of person would introduce such a bill? Well, first of all, it’s a woman, House Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), and second, this is an assertion of her vast knowledge on the subject:
“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”
Um… who’s going to be the one to tell Rep. Lesko that no one lives in the Soviet Union anymore?