Arizona Bill to Allow Discrimination on the Basis of Sex Goes to Senate
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A Senate panel voted Monday to let employers with religious or moral objections refuse to include contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans for their workers.
HB 2625 would repeal a decade-old mandate that says companies that provide coverage must also include contraceptives. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, said the move is necessary to protect freedom.
The measure already has been approved by the House, meaning it needs only approval by the full Senate before going to the governor.
“I believe that we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “And so government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something that’s against their moral beliefs.”
The legislation is similar to what some Republicans in Congress have been pushing in their bid to overturn an Obama administration policy requiring contraceptive coverage by employers. That effort has so far been unsuccessful.
The bill cleared the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday by a 6-2 margin.
This comes from the Guttmacher Institute (.pdf file):
In December 2000, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made it clear that an employer’s failure to provide coverage of contraception, when it covers other prescription drugs and preventive care, is a violation of protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; those protections for employees’ benefits include no exemption for religious employers.