Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko of Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof that their birth control prescriptions are for purposes other than preventing births. Lesko said, “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.” No-o-o-o-o, she just thinks that government should give an employer the power to fire any woman who chooses not to be pregnant. The original bill made it illegal for an employer to fire women who purchase birth control with their own money. That clause has mysteriously disappeared.
Arizona is an “at will” employment state. It’s a designation that creates a carte blanche for employers to fire anyone for no reason whatsoever. So, if you are employed, in Arizona, by a dipstick to equates birth control with abortion, then you could be fired because you are violating the employer’s moral code.
This mess started because a panel of medical experts agreed that birth control is one of the most important preventative practices in health care and should be part of our health insurance. On the basis of that recommendation, birth control medication without co-pays for deductibles, was included in the Affordable Care Act, along with things like diabetes screenings and control, cancer screenings and other procedures that detect illness early and prevent it from becoming expensive to treat. Then, the Catholic Church, in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, objected to paying for health insurance that covered birth control because Pope Sixtus V decided in 1588 to ignore almost 1600 years of Christian teaching and ban birth control and abortions before 20 weeks. That has set off this firestorm of debate about birth control. The Church doesn’t want to pay the premiums for health insurance policies that cover birth control for non-Catholics in their employ in hospitals and schools. The ACA has an exemption for religious institutions. After all, a monastery doesn’t need birth control. The argument was about church-affiliated non-religious institutions.
By the time this battle is over, I expect even more Americans to favor a public option in health insurance. We are seeing how the universal coverage we wanted (62% of us) is being nibbled away into oblivion. Only a public option will end this. The lack of a public option was the reason 38% of those polled didn’t like the ACA. I’d like to see that poll retaken today in the light of this battle over one of the most essentials health care programs for women.