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Arizona Bill Gives Religious Employers Exceptions for Contraceptive Coverage - ABC News
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Arizona Bill Would Let More Employers Nix Contraceptive
Coverage
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Pharmacist owner Patrick McNerney, supports an Arizona bill allowing employers to prohibit coverage of contraceptive
drugs from their health plans. (Patrick McNerney)
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By SUSANNA KIM (@skimm)
March 15, 2012
A state bill in Arizona would expand the right to deny contraception
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health coverage for all employers who carry religious beliefs, not just
churches.
Patrick McNerney, owner of Ave Maria Pharmacy in Prescott Valley,
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Ariz., said he supports the bill because he does not sell contraception in
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his pharmacy.
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his insurance plan. But he said if his business one day expanded and
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provided insurance for its employees he would not want to be forced to
pay for coverage for contraception because of his Catholic beliefs.
He runs a "pro-life pharmacy" and the issue is not covering the cost of
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http://abcnews.go.com/Business/arizona-bill-religious-employers-exceptions-contraceptive-coverage/story?id=15922601[3/23/2012 2:07:48 PM]
Arizona Bill Gives Religious Employers Exceptions for Contraceptive Coverage - ABC News
contraceptives, the generic versions of which can cost $9 a month, he
said.
"I specifically opened this pharmacy so I could practice according to the
morals of the Catholic Church that I live by," McNerney, 58, said.
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Arizona's House Bill 2625 was endorsed by the state's Senate Judiciary
Committee this week after passing the House. The law could be
approved by the State Senate and signed into law by Gov. Janice Brewer
in the next month, said Deborah Sheasby, legal counsel for the Center
for Arizona Policy, which supports the bill.
The bill reforms a state contraception mandate that was
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passed in 2002, the Contraceptive Equity Law. That law
required insurers to allow access to all FDA-approved
drugs, including emergency contraceptive drugs. But that
law provides exception to a "religious employer" that
"primarily employs persons who share the religious
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tenets of the entity" and "serves persons who share the
religious tenets of the entity."
One aspect of the bill that has attracted criticism but is
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already in the 2002 law requires those employed by an
employer prohibiting contraception coverage to submit a
doctor's prescription if a contraceptive drug is required
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for medical purposes.
Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona,
called that provision "extraordinary" that women with a
religious employer could access birth control from a plan
that otherwise doesn't cover it if they can attest they are
not taking the contraception in order to have sex,
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regardless of whether they are married or not.
At issue is not whether one should or should not use
contraception, Sheasby said.
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"The bill is about the religious liberties of employers and
paying for something against their religious beliefs," she
said.
Sheasby said the 2002 law's exemption was "so narrow"
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that it only applied to churches or houses of worship, and
forced faith-based social service groups and businesses to
pay for or support services that were against their beliefs.
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference,
represents the five bishops in the state in the matter. The conference
failed in its attempt to get the 2002 law vetoed after it was passed.
He said under the current law, which provides an exemption to entities
that hire and serve people of the same faith, "Jesus couldn't qualify
because he helped anyone."
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/arizona-bill-religious-employers-exceptions-contraceptive-coverage/story?id=15922601[3/23/2012 2:07:48 PM]
Arizona Bill Gives Religious Employers Exceptions for Contraceptive Coverage - ABC News
Howard disagrees that the issue is about religious freedom.
"The idea that this has to do with religious freedom as opposed to
women's health and healthcare is rather odd because if contraception is
withheld on religious grounds of an employer, what he or she is doing is
taking away the religious liberty of all his female employees who are no
longer able to access healthcare according to their faith," he said.
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RELATED TOPICS: Contraception, Sexual Health, Catholicism, Healthcare Today,
Pro-Life, Health Care, Planned Parenthood, Food And Drug Administration
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http://abcnews.go.com/Business/arizona-bill-religious-employers-exceptions-contraceptive-coverage/story?id=15922601[3/23/2012 2:07:48 PM]
Arizona Bill Gives Religious Employers Exceptions for Contraceptive Coverage - ABC News
America2929 If the employer is paying 100% of the employee's premium, and if the policy has no
10:37 AM EDT copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for the employee, THEN I would say it's ok for
Mar 16, 2012
the employer to call the shots. If there is even one cent of employee contribution,
then TOO BAD, SO SAD-- the employer shouldn't whine about "freedom".
CND FOX PopeyeLN...don't you agree that the solution is (has to be) that we get the
9:07 AM EDT responsibility OUT of the hands of employers so that they can't pull this
Mar 16, 2012
discriminatory crap of hiding behind first amendment rights? LOL...especially when
the rotten ******** don;'t even pay taxes. "Single payer, national health care" is the
only solution. Besides that is the ONLY WAY those that want to retire over the next
10-15 years...will be able to afford it. NOW...that is something that NOBODY in the
'free enterprise, entrepenuerial community' wants to talk about. When is the middle
class ever going to wake up and see that they are being used and screwed by the
wealthy?
PopeyeLN Well it is mostly the Catholic Church that is offering up religious opposition to
8:08 AM EDT contraception. And until it gives to the State all its personnel files concerning child
Mar 16, 2012
abusing priests, it should get no other consideration from the State. The Church
after all has been nothing less than a continuing criminal enterprise in this regard.
And doesn't this all "respect the establishment of religion" anyway? The free exercise
of religion does not mean that a church's doctrines get visited upon the population
via legislative action. If it was that, and given that, 98-99% of its American Catholics
use contraception, I guess the State and the Bishops would be rounding up people to
expose them to all kinds of hell on Earth, and purgatory after.
View All Comments (95)
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http://abcnews.go.com/Business/arizona-bill-religious-employers-exceptions-contraceptive-coverage/story?id=15922601[3/23/2012 2:07:48 PM]
Arizona Bill Gives Religious Employers Exceptions for Contraceptive Coverage - ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/arizona-bill-religious-employers-exceptions-contraceptive-coverage/story?id=15922601[3/23/2012 2:07:48 PM]
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