Employers Not Covering Contraception for Religious or Moral Reasons: Yay or Nay?

The Arizona Senate is currently considering a bill that would keep all of the existing prescription drug coverage for any medications your doctor prescribes for you, unless it's contraception.

It's been the law in Arizona since 2003 that prescription contraception is treated just like any other medication for drug-coverage purposes, but this bill would allow employers or health insurance providers to opt out of that on religious or moral grounds.

Planned Parenthood Arizona President Bryan Howard told New Times yesterday the bill isn't so much about religious freedom as it is a "political strategy to speak to a very specific segment of the Arizona public."

The public policy director for the ACLU of Arizona also said bill is a sign legislators are "playing politics with women's health."

The ACLU's Anjali Abraham says it allows employers to impose their religious beliefs on employees, thus providing pretty much the opposite of religious freedom.

Abraham also pointed to an interesting section of law that's stricken under the proposed bill, which states, "A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source."

Howard noted how no one really complained about the current law -- which, again, has been around for nearly a decade -- until the national talking heads complained that this was actually an issue.

"This is a continuation of everything we've been seeing from Mr. Santorum [and] the vile commentary from Rush Limbaugh," Howard says. "This is a frontal attack on basic women's healthcare."

This morning's question: Should an employer or health care insurer that provides a prescription drug program be able to reject prescribed contraception for religious or moral reasons?

Cast your vote below:

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley