Arizona has taken up yet another draconian law for women’s health — this time replicating but broadening the federal push to let employers deny women access to birth control. The bill stipulates that, unless a woman brings in a note proving she is not using it to avoid getting pregnant, an employer can deny birth control to any woman in the workplace.
By a vote of 6–2, an Arizona State Senate Judiciary committee yesterday endorsed the measure:
Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.
“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs… My whole legislation is about our First Amendment rights and freedom of religion.”
The argument that providing birth control violates the First Amendment is bogus, debunked by a twenty year-old opinion by conservative Supreme Court Justice Scalia.
Needless to say, many women do not feel comfortable turning over their medical records to their employers, even if they do have a condition that qualifies them under Lesko’s proposed law. Especially since, as an at-will employment state, an Arizona employer would likely be able to fire a woman if they saw anything in her gynecological history that he (or, yes, she) didn’t like. But, under the proposed law, a boss could fire the woman if the woman didn’t turn it over, too.
You can read our top five reasons why contraception is important here. Aside from the obvious health benefits that lead some women to use birth control, contraceptive use has helped shrink the gender pay gap; it even benefits the economy as a whole.