Arizona bill bans contraception coverage-- for contraception

March 16, 2012

Republicans in Arizona’s state house -- professing to be pro-life -- have passed legislation that will undoubtedly result in many more abortions (some, perhaps illegal, given Arizona’s dwindling number of abortion providers), more single mothers, more abandoned kids with fewer state services and more poverty.

The Arizona Republican majority whip, Debbie Lesko -- yes, a woman -- is the principal sponsor of this disaster in the making. And to hear her tell it, the bill is simply about religious freedom.

HB2625 allows employers to ban contraceptive drugs from employer-provided health insurance based on religious grounds, but it goes further than the just defeated federal Blunt Amendment. The Arizona bill specifically prohibits the drugs only if they’re being used for contraception. It allows coverage for the exact same drugs if they’re used for medical conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian symptom.

In practical terms, it means that women Arizona who want contraceptive drugs will need to explain to their employers, in writing and with physician support, that they are not using contraceptives for contraception.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the full text of the Arizona bill, passed by the State House and on its way to the State Senate. And here's the pertinent part:

NOTWITHSTANDING SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION, A CONTRACT DOES NOT FAIL TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION IF THE CONTRACT'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE COVERAGE OF SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION IS BECAUSE PROVIDING OR PAYING FOR COVERAGE OF THE SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES IS CONTRARY TO THE RELIGIOUS  BELIEFS OF THE EMPLOYER, SPONSOR, ISSUER, CORPORATION OR OTHER ENTITY OFFERING THE PLAN OR IS BECAUSE THE COVERAGE IS CONTRARY TO THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE PURCHASER OR BENEFICIARY OF THE COVERAGE. IF AN OBJECTION TRIGGERS THIS SUBSECTION, A WRITTEN AFFIDAVIT SHALL BE FILED WITH THE CORPORATION STATING THE OBJECTION. THE CORPORATION SHALL RETAIN THE AFFIDAVIT FOR THE DURATION OF THE CONTRACT AND ANY RENEWALS OF THE CONTRACT. THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT EXCLUDE COVERAGE FOR PRESCRIPTION CONTRACEPTIVE METHODS ORDERED BY A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER WITH PRESCRIPTIVE AUTHORITY FOR MEDICAL INDICATIONS OTHER THAN FOR CONTRACEPTIVE, ABORTIFACIENT, ABORTION OR STERILIZATION PURPOSES. A CORPORATION, EMPLOYER, SPONSOR, ISSUER OR OTHER ENTITY OFFERING THE PLAN MAY STATE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR MORAL CONVICTIONS IN ITS AFFIDAVIT THAT REQUIRE THE SUBSCRIBER TO FIRST PAY FOR THE PRESCRIPTION AND THEN SUBMIT A CLAIM TO THE CORPORATION ALONG WITH EVIDENCE THAT THE PRESCRIPTION IS NOT IN WHOLE OR IN PART FOR A PURPOSE COVERED BY THE OBJECTION. A CORPORATION MAY CHARGE AN ADMINISTRATIVE FEE FOR HANDLING THESE CLAIMS.”

It doesn’t take a genius to do the math here: Less contraception will result in more pregnancies. More pregnancies will result in more unwanted children and in more abortions. More children to people who cannot afford contraception will result in increased poverty.

How, exactly, does this better or benefit society?