Per AP’s Paul Davenport on the (temporary) defeat of AZ’s birth control bill today:
“She can go to Walmart and buy it,” said bill supporter Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, adding later: “We’re not restricting birth control here. It’s a question of who is paying for it.”
Oh really? Well guess who has been working diligently to make it so pharmacists can deny birth control prescriptions to women? That would be Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy.
Rights of Conscience
The freedom of religion includes not just the right to maintain a set of beliefs, but also the right to act according to one’s conscience. This freedom is listed at the forefront of our Bill of Rights and has historically been called our “First Freedom,” highlighting its revered distinction. There is a false notion that there is a “separation of Church and State” that intimidates people from letting their religious beliefs affect their public lives in society. In fact, “recent Supreme Court decisions that have had the effect of excluding religious expression from the public square cannot be justified by the original intention or original meaning of the First Amendment.”
The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a freedom just “to worship.” It guarantees our right to practice and promote our faith in every area of civic life. Religion is not restricted to within the four walls of the church. Religious beliefs inform our consciences and affect our public lives morally and pragmatically.
Matters of conscience are not just theoretical. They affect real individuals and religious organizations and have the potential of forcing them to violate their conscience or stop doing the job they have chosen to do…
…A pharmacist for Target in Michigan was fired after he refused to sell morning-after pills to customers. He claims that Target agreed to allow him to refer these customers to other pharmacies. He filed a federal lawsuit against Target in November 2007. The case is still pending.
Don’t be confused by the morning after pill thing. Emergency contraception works exactly the same as the regular Pill, the only difference being when you take it (prior to sex or after) to avoid fertilization. EC is simply a high dose of the same kind of hormones used in the regular birth control pill. And anti-choicers have been attacking all forms of female-controlled hormonal birth control for years, under the scientifically flimsy theory that they may prevent fertilized eggs from implanting. They’re also hostile to birth control in general, since it lets women have sex without “consequences”. I guarantee if a Walmart pharmacist approached CAP to complain that she didn’t want to dispense regular birth control, not the morning after pill but ordinary birth control prescriptions, to customers CAP would be falling over themselves to defend her. After all, they’re pushing to let employers with “moral” objections deny all forms of contraception through their health plans.
And despite the supporters of HB2625 acting like any woman can pop into a Walmart and buy her slut pills for $9 from a slut-friendly pharmacist, it’s not that easy. With the exception of that infamous morning after pill, you have to get a prescription for birth control pills and other forms of hormonal contraception. The prescription process isn’t just the Rx you take to the pharmacy. You have to visit the doctor to get the prescription. Those visits aren’t free. There’s nothing in HB2625 that explicitly states that the initial visit for the prescription, or subsequent consultations with the doctor for refills must be covered. If that doctor visit is all or in part with the purpose of getting the prescription, then the woman who gets her health care through her employer with a religious objection covered by HB2625 has to prove that the consultation with her doctor for contraception, at least based on my reading of Subsection Y of the Arizona statute the bill would amend.
Here’s the relevant part of Subsection Y:
2. If the contract provides coverage for outpatient health care services, the contract shall provide coverage for outpatient contraceptive services. For the purposes of this paragraph, “outpatient contraceptive services” means consultations, examinations, procedures and medical services provided on an outpatient basis and related to the use of approved United States food and drug administration prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies.
Here’s the part of Subsection Z that permits the religious exemption:
Z. NOTWITHSTANDING SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION, A CONTRACT DOES NOT FAIL TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION IF THE CONTRACT’S FAILURE TO PROVIDE COVERAGE OF SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION IS BECAUSE PROVIDING OR PAYING FOR COVERAGE OF THE SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES IS CONTRARY TO THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE EMPLOYER, HOSPITAL SERVICE CORPORATION, MEDICAL SERVICE CORPORATION, HOSPITAL, MEDICAL, DENTAL AND OPTOMETRIC SERVICE CORPORATION OR OTHER ENTITY OFFERING THE PLAN OR IS BECAUSE THE COVERAGE IS CONTRARY TO THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE PURCHASER OF THE COVERAGE…
That would appear to mean that the insurance company can make the woman pay for doctor’s visits out-of-pocket to the extent they’re for slut pills and not a purpose more conducive to the proper policing of her virtue.