It’s another day in 2012, which means that it’s another day where women’s rights are under attack. It seems that since the GOP can’t claim any moral high ground on the economy they’ve turned to women’s right to reproductive freedom yet again. Is it just me, or do these stories seem to break a day or two after the government announces another good economic recovery marker?
Arizona, home of Governor Jan “Shake My Finger At Obama” Brewer, has begun work on passing a piece of legislation that would fundamentally challenge a woman’s right to medical birth control insofar as it allows employers to know your reproductive and medical history and fire female employees who use the birth control pill for non-medical (i.e., using it to prevent pregnancy rather than using it to control periods or the like) reasons.
Yes, you read that right…FIRE. As in terminate someone’s employment because of their sex life.
I’d let that sink in for a moment, but honestly there’s no way in hell it will ever sink in because it’s so absurd.
Here are the facts about Arizona House Bill 2625
- Arizona House Bill 2625 acts to repeal a state law that requires employers who provide prescription coverage to cover birth control as part of that coverage. Many states have such an act and that protection is what was included in the Affordable Healthcare Act signed by President Obama.
- What HB 2625 does specifically, is repeals the law and allows any employer to refuse to cover birth control “for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.”
- If a woman wants to get coverage for other reasons, she must “submit a claim” to her employer (not her insurance company) providing evidence of a medical condition.
- When they say written evidence, they mean it…they want a legally binding affidavit to be submitted to the employer and/or insurance provider.
- Even after an affidavit is provided, the employer may require the employee to pay all the costs of the birth control up front and then reimburse the employee for a covered portion.
Those are the basics of the text. Believe me, that’s scary enough. But there’s more. Because the employer knows that the employee is taking birth control, the employer has the ability to judge for itself long after the initial application period whether the employee is using the birth control for purposes that run contrary to the employer’s belief. If the employer judges that the employee is using birth control for, you know, birth control’s sake, the employer can terminate the employee and there are no protections for the employee in this situation. Since men don’t yet have medical birth control (other than vasectomies, which of course are not touched by this legislation), this bill only affects the rights of women to have access to birth control.
This bill is scary. It’s just as scary as any of the other bills across the nation in state legislatures being used to attack women. Just the other day, Gretchen Whitmer, a state legislator from Michigan wrote a piece in HuffPo about the War On Women. If it were possible to give a standing ovation to a written piece, the women of America would have done so for Senator Whitmer’s comments on the subject:
The Republican war on women goes far beyond merely using derogatory and sexualized terms. From the recent attacks on contraception and women’s healthcare, to eliminating tax credits for single mothers right here in Michigan, treating women as second class citizens has somehow become a policy platform for their party once again.
As a responsible adult, I am proud to say that I have used birth control. As a mom, I want my daughters to be able to hold their heads high and be proud of the decisions they have made and will continue to make throughout their lives.
I, too, am proud to say that I have used birth control. That makes me a responsible woman who was more interested in waiting for the right time to have children than adhering to an archaic policy to be found nowhere in the Bible or any other religious text, but instead instituted arbitrarily by men (usually white men) in places of political and religious power. And the GOP, knowing that the economic issues of the past few years won’t be enough to get them elected is playing on the fear of the Religious Right that women may, in fact, be equal persons in society.
And apparently God does forbid the conclusion that women should have the same free will afforded to men.