We can add Arizona to the growing list of states engaged in an anti-woman, anti-birth control rampage. Currently on the state roster is a bill that would allow employers to avoid offering women health insurance coverage for contraception if the company objects on moral or religious grounds. More specifically, women trying to get reimbursed for birth control through their employer-provided health plan could be required to prove that they are taking it for a medical reason, rather than to prevent pregnancy.
Terrible, I know. But what’s worse is that a female state lawmaker – Debbie Lesko – introduced this heinous bill, which is dangerously near passing.
Lesko’s reasoning for the bill is truly the icing on the cake:
“We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Republican Arizona State Rep. Debbie Lesko told the Associated Press. “And so government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom-and-pop (businesses) to do something that’s against their moral beliefs.”
Right … but it’s perfectly acceptable for the government to impose its moral beliefs on individual women, essentially mandating motherhood across the state(s)? It is, without any shadow of a doubt, unacceptable to think that my senators or employer would have any say on when/if I have a child. And seriously, if I hear a legislator mention the Catholic Church one more stinking time, I’m going to lose it. Remember that teeny, tiny little thing in the Constitution called separation of Church and State?! Apparently, that’s gone the same route as respect for women’s health – to hell in a hand basket. But I digress.
I suppose this newest attempt to derail our bodily integrity and human rights shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is just another symptom of a much larger disease (by which I could mean any number of things … Congress, anti-choice extremists, misogyny, etc. You pick.). But before we roll our eyes so hard we see our brains and merely dismiss this bill as “ridiculous” (which it is), I want to remind us all not to get complacent. Although the Blunt Amendment was recently defeated, we can’t assume that all anti-birth control bills will follow the same fate.
Once again, it’s time to get loud and get angry and send a clear message – not just to Arizona but to every single state legislator – that the vast majority of Americans support birth control and that we WILL vote along those lines. Our biggest collective strengths are our voices and our votes, and no one should underestimate those!