While the nation as a whole has been particularly focused on what women do with their bodies this year, the sunny state of Arizona has taken the scrutiny to an entirely different level. From pursing legislation that would allow anti-abortion doctors to mislead patients on the health of their fetuses to asking women who want contraception from their employers’ insurance companies to pay a fee, the state legislature in AZ has ably lead the southwestern flank of the “war on women.”
But today there was a setback. The bill containing the birth control “fee” provision was defeated in the Senate, due primarily to concerns that the law would require women to divulge personal information about the intended use of their contraception to their bosses. The Huffington Post has details:
The vote Wednesday was a 17-13. Nine Democrats and eight Republicans voted against the bill – though one Republican did that so she can ask for another vote on the bill sometime in the future – while Republicans provided all 13 votes in favor.
"I'm all for religious freedom. I'm for all kinds of freedom," but not at the expense of others, said Sen. Jerry Lewis, a Mesa Republican who voted against the bill.
The Republican-sponsored bill is supported by social conservatives and Roman Catholic bishops who say it protects the religious freedom of all employers by allowing them to use the opt-out privilege now extended only to religious entities.
This announcement comes on the heels of the Arizona Senate’s approval of a late-term abortion ban yesterday, which will now go to the House for consideration. The contraception bill will be tabled for now; but given the Arizona Republicans’ obsession with this theme, I expect we’ll be hearing about the bill again soon. In the meantime, one wonders what other issues the citizens of Arizona might like their legislators to tackle—aren’t there, like, roads to be repaved or something?