Starting next week, women across the state will face a choice between their privacy, their health care coverage and their jobs.
On Aug. 2, HB2625 goes into effect. This law limits women’s access to health care and contraception and it invades women’s privacy while jeopardizing their employment. The law will allow religious employers to deny insurance coverage for women’s birth control, if they disapprove of the way women are using the medication. Additionally, if a religious employer finds out that women are using birth control as contraception, the women can be fired.
Women should not be forced to disclose personal, private medical decisions to an insurance company or to anyone else in order to protect their access to medication and to protect their jobs. A law that threatens a woman’s ability to make her own medical choices and to provide for herself and for her family is a low blow.
The Tea Party extremists behind this law and the governor who signed it have decided that it is their job to politicize women’s health. They argue that this is about the religious freedom of the employers, but in reality, this is about privacy and access to health care. It is just a seditious way to push an extremist agenda.
It is difficult to decide which portion of this bill is more distressing — the part that subjects women to moral examinations of their medical decisions or the part that threatens their livelihoods should their medical decisions be deemed inappropriate.
This is just one of the bills that limit women’s access to health care that the Tea Party extremists in the Legislature pushed this past session. Another intrusive, Tea Party restriction to women’s access to health care is HB2800. This law also goes into effect on Aug. 2, unless the courts intervene.
It prohibits Planned Parenthood Arizona from being a qualified Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System provider. AHCCCS is Arizona’s Medicaid agency. Under this new law, 4,000 Arizona women will no longer be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventative services, including life-saving cancer screenings, mammograms and vaccinations.
The support for this bill from Tea Party lawmakers at the Capitol was confusing because HB2800 clearly will limit health care choices in the state. One of the major complaints from the Tea Party about the federal Affordable Care Act was that it limits health care choices. The hypocrisy is difficult to reconcile.
Time and time again, the Tea Party Republicans at the state Legislature have shown us that promoting their extremist agenda is more important than focusing on important matters like creating jobs and improving education. We have got to move this state forward and prevent laws like this from pulling us back.
— Rep. Katie Hobbs is a Democrat representing Legislative District 15