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Lesko defends birth control bill at rally

Debbie Lesko

A state representative who introduced legislation that would let more Arizona employers drop coverage for contraceptives addressed supporters at a rally Friday and defended her proposal, which critics say intrudes on women’s private lives.

Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko says her bill protects the religious rights of employers who do not wish to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives because it violates their religious or moral beliefs.

Lesko spoke to several hundred people who rallied in front of a federal courthouse in Phoenix on Friday afternoon to support the legislation.

Democrats argue that the bill would force women to reveal private health information to employers.

Lesko disputes that, and says she’s adding language in the bill to make that clear.

The bill is near passage in the Republican-led Legislature.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  1. Seeking the Truth

    ALEC update:

    People for the American Way….

    “More evidence your activism is working: ALEC has announced that it is disbanding its “Public Safety and Elections Task Force,” the working group responsible for advancing model legislation like the controversial Voter ID and “Shoot First” gun laws that have proliferated around the country. Of course the move is a transparent attempt to stem the hemorrhaging of support ALEC’s facing, thanks in large part to your efforts, but it’s big symbolic victory and shows we have them on the defensive.

    ALEC’s trying to whitewash their role pushing extreme legislation that endangers the safety and lives of Americans — but we won’t let them.

    ALEC now claims they will only focus on legislation that will ‘put the economy back to work,’ but will they work to undo the immense harm that have already caused? And it begs the question of how they will use a so called ‘jobs agenda’ to justify laws — which they presumably will still be pushing — that undermine workers’ rights, privatize public education, and make it harder to hold corporations accountable for poisoning our air and water or selling us dangerous and defective products. We will continue to work with our friends to shine a light on ALEC’s agenda and hold members accountable for supporting that agenda.

    Yesterday, in another major victory, Blue Cross Blue Shield became the latest company to pull out of ALEC. We are going to keep up the momentum by turning the focus of our next round of grassroots pressure on State Farm.

    Despite continued contact with State Farm, the company is not yet showing signs of budging and withdrawing its support for ALEC. It’s time to get local with your activism.

    Please use the link below to find the State Farm agents near you — contact one or more of the agents directly and tell them you want the company to stop supporting ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.


    You can use the same call report form you’ve been using for calls to State Farm and Johnson & Johnson executives to let us know how your calls go.

    Hopefully this local, bottom-up grassroots pressure will be what it takes to make State Farm join Blue Cross, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mars and the other companies who have so far said “enough” to ALEC’s destructive right-wing agenda.”

  2. Voter / Taxpayer

    BIG NEWS: The right-wing ALEC organization issued a panicked response to our campaign to defund them.

    After years of ALEC’s coordinated attempt to ram voter-suppression and union-busting bills through states like Wisconsin, they accused progressives of running a “well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign…against corporate members of the organization.”

    60,000 people have signed our petition, made phone calls, and sent Tweets to corporations — pushing them to stop funding ALEC. And along with our allies, we’ve had over 10 victories!

    Can you join this “expertly coordinated” accountability campaign? Sign the petition telling major corporations like AT&T to stop funding ALEC.

    The New York Times reports, “McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Intuit, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stopped supporting the group, responding to pressure from activists and consumers who have formed a grass-roots counterweight to corporate treasuries.”

    ALEC’s panic continued yesterday when they ended their task force focused on voter suppression. The right-wing National Review wrote, “Left-Wing Pressure Causes ALEC to Retreat.”

    We have fantastic momentum, but our work is not done. Disbanding a “task force” doesn’t mean ALEC won’t continue pushing voter suppression. And ALEC’s war on middle-class families, including union busting, will continue unless we stop it.

    Can you add your voice to this fight and urge big corporations like AT&T to stop funding ALEC? Click here to sign the petition.

    We’re working with our friends at civil rights group ColorOfChange to keep the pressure on companies like AT&T. Regular people are rising up to take back our democracy.

    Thanks for being a bold progressive.

    — James Ploeser, PCCC State Organizing Director

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