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Arizona Bill Would Restrict Birth Control Coverage for Employees

A bill was approved by the Arizona State House last Thursday that would place further restrictions on birth control access in the state by giving employers the right to refuse coverage for contraception under their insurance. House Bill 2625 would allow 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. Under the law, employees are required to pay out of pocket for contraception, and would be reimbursed only after submitting medical records to her employer to prove medical necessity. Anjali Abraham, public policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union, noted that the bill allows for the possibility of an employer to legally fire an employee who is found to be taking covered contraception as birth control. “The bill seems to have a lot more to do with attempting to limit a woman’s access to health care then freedom of religion,” Abraham said. The bill would also remove 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 and now awaits Senate approval. It could then be signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Sources:

CNN 3/15/12; New York Daily News 3/15/12; Huffington Post 3/14/12; Yuma Sun 3/2/12