A Separation of The Constitution, and State

Oof. When I started back here, my intention was never to exclusively touch on "hot buttons" or social controversies, but it's getting harder to stay out of it. I was at a loss for what to even title this post, as 'R U EFFING KIDDING ME, AZ?' didn't seem to have quite the tact you probably haven't come to expect of me.
Earlier this week, I read a well put article by Tegan on Arizona's piece of legislation that allows doctors to lie to a woman about any diseases her unborn child may have, to prevent her from having an abortion. Now let me stop here and say this is not a post about abortion. Regardless of you you feel on the issue, a doctor failing to give a mother the opportunity to prepare to have a special needs child - a huge life transition - is not okay. I had heard about this briefly awhile back, but had dismissed it as Arizona being Arizona, and assumed it would be dismissed by any self-respecting politician as well. Nope.

"What will Arizona come up with next?" you might ask. HAHA, it's funny you should ask. If you've followed the Sandra Fluke story at all, or, more than likely, the  Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke story, you may have a guess as to where this is going. Arizona is now looking to pass a bill that would allow your employer to fire you for using birth control.

With this bill, not only can a non-religious, for-profit employer deny the coverage of birth control through insurance, this bill takes a cue from Channing Tatum, and steps it up. Should the bill pass, if your employer discovers that you are on the pill, paying out of pocket, they have the right to fire you for this. God. Bless. America. In case you just dismissed that last sentence due to extreme sleep deprivation and went to get some coffee, let me re-emphasize. This bill gives your employer the right to decide whether or not you use birth control, and is being taken seriously. 

Never mind that according to UF Health Science Center, 726,000 women who take birth control pills have never had sex, and are using the pill for reasons other than contraception. Never mind that because it shouldn't matter, as it has no baring on your job performance and thereby should be no concern of your employer, or for that matter, anyone who is not you.

Listen up, the same way no one though Rebecca Black's Friday would go viral, a majority of people in their right minds may not take this seriously as a threat - but it has already passed one house. Don't chalk anything up to human decency...we're talking about Arizona, after all. Tell Arizonan legislators that this is not okay, and you will not stand for it.

Image via American Civil Liberties Union


Alyssa said...

What the what?!?!
It baffles me. WHY is this even an issue right now? Ugh I can't even type out a response that makes sense because I find this issue, the fact that this IS an issue, SO idiotic.

kristen said...

I have nothing to contribute, but I wanted to tell you I'm enjoying your recent posts. Keep it up!

Claire Kiefer said...

I don't think you should stay away from politics, because these are incredibly important issues. Arizona is WACK and they've been showing us why lately. It's shameful and embarrassing, and it emphasizes the war that women are still fighting in this country (and around the world, of course). I'm sickened by these legislators, as well as by anyone who would vote for Rick Santorum, who believes that women impregnated BY RAPE should still not be able to have an abortion, and should consider their baby a "blessing from God." Makes my blood boil.

Anonymous said...

Paige, you ought to make sure you know all the facts before sounding off on your bully pulpit blog.

From Center for Az Policy on the bills in question;

"Let's Clear a Few Things Up
What a week. I don't know if I've ever witnessed such baseless and false attacks on CAP-supported bills as I saw this week. While I understand that it may be more entertaining for some to blatantly lie about legislation, the people deserve to know the truth.

So I'm going to clear a few things up about CAP-supported bills and other issues that have been misconstrued in the press and liberal blogs this week.

HB 2625 - This simple bill protects the religious freedom of faith-based groups and other employers. No employer should be forced by the government to pay for contraception and abortifacients in their insurance plans when doing so would violate their First Amendment protected religious beliefs. The media has falsely picked up the opponents' outrageous claims that the bill would force women to tell employers why they are taking birth control pills. Read the bill. That claim is not in the bill.

Center for Arizona Policy does not take a position on family planning or birth control. We do, however take a very strong position that faith-based institutions and employers who hold a religious belief regarding contraception should not be compelled to violate those beliefs and pay for the medication.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Debbie Lesko has done an incredible job in numerous media interviews explaining this point.

SB 1359 - Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, this legislation is based on common sense and decency. It prohibits "wrongful life" and "wrongful birth" lawsuits. These lawsuits arise when a child is born with a disability, and the parents sue the doctor claiming that had they known their child had a disability, they would have had an abortion.

These lawsuits endorse the viewpoint that the life of a disabled child is worth less than the life of a child without a disability. Imagine what the children of the parents who file these lawsuits must feel when they get older and find out that their parents sued because they wish they would have had an abortion.

The attacks on this bill have truly been far-fetched. Some blogs claimed that this bill would allow doctors to knowingly withhold information from parents. Untrue. This bill does nothing to protect doctors that cause harm to preborn children, withhold information, or are grossly negligent."

Those are some facts you've failed to discover.

Paige Baker said...

Alright anonymous, here it is - I debated for a while about whether to delete or respond to this, but ultimately felt that buried beneath your insults were some real points I'd like to address. However, if you have further issues to address without being willing to respectfully disagree, you're going to have to email me personally, as I'll be deleting anything else written in the same tone.

Here is some information from reliable and credited sources on the bill, to help decode some of the legalistic and complex rhetoric of the bill.

"House Bill 2625 seeks to allow any employer to refuse birth control coverage if the intended uses are "for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes." What that means is that if a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered she has to prove to her employer that she needs it to treat medical conditions such as endometriosis rather than simply wanting to pound the flesh with her man. The law would also allow employers to fire a woman if it was disclosed that she took birth control for....birth control purposes. " -Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-ostroy/republican-vaginsanity_b_1353118.html

"...OK for both religious and secular employers to deny coverage for contraception if the employers object for moral reasons.
But apparently that’s not all.
HB2625 in its current version also eliminates the following protection for employees:
“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”
In the most recent version of HB2625 (see it here) that provision is removed (scroll down to the very end).
What does that mean?
According to ACLU of Arizona Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham, it means that an employer may be able to discriminate against an employee if he finds out that she (or he?) is using contraception." -AZ Central http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/EJMontini/157343

"A bill nearing passage in the Republican-led Legislature allows all employers, not just religious institutions, to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage when doing so would violate their religious or moral beliefs. ... The Arizona bill would also erase a law that bans religion-based employers from punishing or firing workers who get contraceptives from a source other than through their employers' health plans." NPR http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=148707949

"a bill that gives immunity to doctors who lie to couples about the results of their prenatal tests in order to prevent them from getting an abortion. Now, a bill that would give your boss the green light to fire you for using birth control. ... And we aren’t talking here just about exemptions for religiously affiliated employers like Catholic hospitals and universities. We are talking about authorizing secular, for-profit employers to deny a woman coverage for birth control if the employer doesn’t believe that she and her partner should be allowed to have sex without getting pregnant. ... The bill they are pushing would not only allow employers to take the insurance coverage away, but it would also make it easier for an employer who finds out that his employee uses birth control to fire her. You heard me right . . . to fire her." -American Civil Liberties Union (sourced above) http://www.aclu.org/blog/reproductive-freedom/use-birth-control-youre-fired

"The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that would shield doctors and others from so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits.
Those are lawsuits that can arise if physicians don’t inform pregnant women of prenatal problems that could lead to the decision to have an abortion." -AZ Capitol Times http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/03/06/senate-approves-bill-on-wrongful-births/


Paige Baker said...

"Arizona currently has a law on the books prohibiting insurance companies from this sort of discrimination. HB 2625, if passed, could supersede that law by allowing the employer, and not the insurance company, to discriminate. I am not the only person raising concerns that women could lose their jobs. So is the ACLU.
The original version of the bill, on page 26, made it illegal for an employer to discriminate against women who purchased their own contraception, without employer health coverage. That protection was removed, presumably making it just fine for an employer to fire a woman for simply having pills in her purse." -Addicting Info http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/03/13/fired-for-using-birth-control-it-could-be-possible-in-arizona/

You can read the whole bill here: http://www.azleg.gov//FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/2r/bills/hb2625h.htm&Session_ID=107

Admittedly, I was incorrect to include the brief mention of the study stating how many women used birth control for reasons other than contraception, as the bill does allow you to prove that you're not using the pill to prevent birth. However, in my estimation, that is not good enough. Your body - your choice. I stand behind my original post, and unfortunately for your argument, I wouldn't post on such a hot-button issue without doing my share of research first.

Andy said...

Hey Paige, supercool that a 13th century priest is commenting on your blog, even if it is anonymous.


Kaylee Hinrichs said...

I'm really glad to read this. It's just a shame that you seem to think the people of Arizona want to oppress women. I mean, i'm from Arizona and I consider myself to be a supporter of gender equality. I don't think it's fair to blame one state when it's a worldwide occurrence.
Otherwise, great read! Thanks for sharing.
Peace and love.

Paige Baker said...

I'm actually from Arizona, and I definitely know there some really incredible people here - personally and in politics. My discouragement is overwhelming lately, though. I'm seeing so many proposed Arizona bills being so backward, and contrary to pushing us into the right direction in terms of equality, etc. I know we're not alone in this, but as this is where I am, this is where my concern primarily lies.

Thanks for your comment!