Critics are calling this change in medical plans an attack on women.
On Friday, May 11, 2012, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill that reduced the Arizona health insurance rules for the coverage of contraception, in a move that has caused a tremendous amount of controversy in the state.
Those supporting the bill are calling it a religious freedom in the state.
The new measure states that employers that are formally identified as a religious organization will be permitted to eliminate the coverage of contraception that is used for the purpose of birth control. That said, they are still required to provide contraception coverage for other medical reasons. The same is also being said about drugs that induce abortion, where they will not be covered if used as a form of birth control.
Those opposed call it a strike to women’s rights.
According to Governor Brewer, “In its final form, this bill is about nothing more than preserving the religious freedom to which we are all constitutionally entitled.” She added that “Mandating that a religious institution provide a service in direct contradiction with its faith would represent an obvious encroachment upon the First Amendment.” Brewer calls this a common sense bill and has explained that women in the state will continue to have access to all of the medical service that they require, and that at the same time, religious organizations have protection for their freedom and their faith.
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There has been debate about this bill for months in the Legislature of the state, which is Republican-led. The arguments have been regarding the impact of this change to Arizona health insurance law on the coverage of women, as well as on their privacy.
The Planned Parenthood Arizona CEO and president, Bryan Howard, said that this is merely the most recent of several bills that have been signed by Governor Brewer that limit the access that women have to preventive medical care. Howard added that this new Arizona health insurance bill is removing personal medical decisions from the women themselves, and is giving it to politicians, instead. This state argument mirrors one about religious freedom and contraception that has been faced across the country.