Hey, what’s the difference between a company and a woman? Only one is protected under basic rights! *rimshot* Of course, I didn’t make that up myself. Unfortunately, it’s long since departed from the “it’s funny ’cause it’s true,” crack and gone round to “it’s effing terrifying because it’s true.”
What’s happened now, you ask? Well, that wonderful, lovely Arizona governor, Ms. Jan Brewer, signed a bill into law that will allow employers to interrogate women about the purpose for which they are using birth control pills. Oh, in addition, if you are using contraception for a purpose other than to prevent pregnancy, first you have to pay for it entirely on your own, then submit a claim stating its health purpose. Then you’ll probably get charged a fee for the claim.
An insurer, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the policy may state religious beliefs in its affidavit that require the insured to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the insurer along with evidence that the prescription is
for a noncontraceptive purposenot in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection. An insurer may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims. (AZ HB 2625 Section 3M)
This bill has been months in the making – you may remember either myself or Day Glo Psycho ranting about this earlier in the year – and the main argument was that it allowed all employers to deny coverage based on religious beliefs. Ultimately, this was altered to state that only religious organizations would be afforded this “right.”
Typically, Brewer claimed this action is only protection against “Obamacare.” I cannot even express to you how much I hate that word. Do you know anything about the origins? Idiots. But I digress. As Brewer stated:
“Let’s not forget why we’re having this discussion: It’s ObamaCare that created this issue by forcing church-affiliated employers and non-profits to offer services in violation of their religious faith,” said Brewer. “With this common sense bill, we can ensure that Arizona women have access to the health services they need and religious institutions have their faith and freedom protected.”
Sooo… translation? Corporations are people too, and they have religious principles which must not be violated. Individuals citizens? Not so much. My favorite line is “we can ensure that Arizona women have access to the health services they need…” No, you absolutely are not ensuring this. If my sister-in-law and my brother decide that the two children they have is enough, and my sister-in-law ends up taking a job as an intake tech at a religious hospital, then these two things are in total conflict with each other. She’s not going to get the health service she needs.
Let’s say, one day my sister-in-law goes into work, and in blatant disregard for HIPAA, her boss asks her if she’s using contraceptives. Not wanting to lie to her superiors, she answers affirmatively. Her boss immediately begins questioning her as to the nature of her contraceptive use, and finds out that she’s taking it for – gasp! – family planning. My sister-in-law is suddenly no longer employed. You think that’s drastic? It’s already happened.
What I want to know, is how does this affect men? Since married men usually have health coverage that includes their family, it’s safe to assume this would also include contraceptive coverage for their wives. How will this affect their employment? Will they also be subject to questioning? Are their jobs at risk? Will they question the wives instead?
It’s all just getting completely out of control. I had a chance to re-read the Handmaid’s Tale the other night, and through it, was able to pinpoint some very specific points that resemble current laws. Maybe later this week I’ll go through and parse that for you. Until then, anyone who’s looking to leave Arizona, I could always use a new roommate.