Posting in Government
Sorry ladies, your boss can now pass judgement on what you get up to behind closed doors.
Under a new law that is currently being proposed in Arizona, employers would possess the power to demand proof from female employees that if they have been prescribed contraception, and whether it is being prescribed due to sexual activity.
The Arizona House Bill 2625 allows employers to deny paying for health insurance coverage for contraceptives on the basis of religious beliefs.
Within current Arizonian law, insurance that covers other prescription medications is required to cover the cost of contraception. Under the controversial ruling, if employees want the cost to be covered on insurance, then proof of prescription can be demanded.
If your employer holds beliefs that include no sex before marriage, for example, then they can refuse to pay for the pill -- unless it has been prescribed for non-sexual purposes, such as hormone control or to regulate heavy periods. If it is for 'contraceptive, abortion or sterilization purposes', then female employees may have to foot the bill themselves.
The bill was penned by Glendale State Representative Debbie Lesko, which has caused surprised in some quarters. Some critics say it is an invasion of privacy, and that as a woman, Lesko should have understood the ramifications of the bill not only on a business level, but by merging religious belief with work, the bill has the potential to give employers the right to know about personal and embarrassing medical conditions -- an invasion of individual privacy.
That, in itself, many would consider unacceptable -- unless it affected the employees' work performance.
Under the Arizona House Bill 2625, female employees will be required to pay for their birth control up front. It is then for the employer to decide if they will be reimbursed.
According to the sponsor of the bill, it is intended to protect the First Amendment right to religious liberty and belief. Lesko said:
"I believe we live in America. We don't live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs."
Opposing groups say otherwise. Instead of protecting rights, the bill can be seen to be restricting the rights of female employees. It allows personal, moral beliefs to take priority over the needs of female employees -- as well as force those who cannot afford contraception to reveal potentially embarrassing conditions in the hope of reimbursement.
The majority of women use birth control in order to control what happens to their own bodies. By denying them coverage by health insurance, is the government overstepping the mark by potentially limiting their ability to do so?
Not only this, but the bill also makes it easier for Arizona bosses to fire women for using birth control in order to prevent pregnancy. Employers in Arizona may now have the power to fire someone if they disapprove of their sex lives -- that is a uncomfortable thought.
Theoretically, yes, the firings would be illegal -- but the feeling of moral outrage is strong, especially if you are in a position of power.
How long would it take for a critical boss, infused with the moral high-ground, to find an excuse to fire a female based on one of the most personal aspects of their lives -- which by law employers could be entitled to know?
You may not tell your parents what you get up to, Arizona, but you may need to prepare yourself to keep your boss informed.
Image credit: Sarah/Flickr
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Mar 14, 2012
What, you don't think your insurance company (that pays for your prescriptions) knows what prescriptions you have?
Why do we pay for health insurance etc. when practicly everything is going to be a basis for them to discriminate? Get out of my medical closet!!!!!!
Nowhere in the legislation does it say a company can fire someone simply for using birth control. This proposed law is actually LESS restrictive than the rule the Obama administration recently announced. This law allows for an appeals process when birth control is prescribed to treat a medical problem. ie heavy menstrual bleeding. The federal rules do not allow for such an appeal. As with Arizonas immigration bill, the misrepresentation of this proposed law is absurd. http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/text/596074
The history of the American colonies is partly about religious freedom, meaning freedom to worship in your own way. The writers of the constitution were very aware of the problems caused by state sponsered religion as well as the conflicts between different forms of faith. Many of them were Deists, they believed in a creator but not a god as described by the many religions of the time. They wrote the constitution to prevent tyranny through government or religious establishments, they also wrote the constitution to make the government impartial (as much as it is possible for it to be impartial) to all religions. The other bit that keeps being lost is that the constitution and federal law is the supreme law of the land. A recent case where Mennonites were being shamed by hair and beard cutting by a few members who ran rough shod over everyone else. The victims were taught to forgive and not involve outside help, but the local law enforcement was able to stop the abuse by arresting the group that caused a lot of hurt. This is a good example of religious tyranny and how the government protects the believers without having to be a part of the same faith. The bill in the article is promoting a set of values over another set of values without actually increasing religious freedom, what it does is impose religious tyranny. In a multi cultural country with a wide range of beliefs it is better to be tolerant of the views of others and accept that what may be right for you may not be right for everyone. It helps to know that the old gods of mythology were worshipped with the same fervor and zealotry as people worship today. I can see the old gods in the night skies and know them for what they are, planets and stars but not deities.
Your employer has a lot more rights than you think. It's just that most employers choose not to exercise them. For example, if your employer hears that you insulted somebody he likes (Obama, Reagan, his wife, Harry Potter, Charlie Sheen, whoever), even if you did so away from work, then he can fire you. If you wear Black Sabbath t-shirts, and he's a Judas Priest fan, he can fire you. In fact, in most states, you can be fired for nothing -- the employer is not required to give you a reason. So yes, under the law of most states, your employer CAN fire you for behaving in ways that violate his/her personal religious beliefs, like having sex outside marriage. The only exception would be if YOUR religion REQUIRED you to have sex outside marriage. Then he'd be firing you because of YOUR religion, which IS illegal under federal law. So, to summarize: religion is a "protected class" (like race or ethnicity) under federal law, but behavior and opinions are not.
...for your health care, and what happens when you are not the customer. The real problem is the presumption among most people in America that health care/insurance is something to be provided by an employer. When someone else is writing the check, they ultimately exercise the power. If people were to purchase their own health care, this kind of silliness would not be possible.
The jump to someone getting fired over contraception is misleading and untrue to begin with. This is one of the problems with debating these issues, the left is just as guilty as the right in distorting the facts. Even if the law passes, it won't withstand a legal challenge. I didn't realize Smartplanet was a front for Star magazine or some other low brow tabloid. Live and learn.
Nobody can demand proof of use/prescription. The law contradicts the privacy aspects of HIPPA (a federal act), which trumps local laws. It's no more than incumbents pandering to constituents.
I realize this is a blog so I suppose you have the right to put your opinion into it but you're not giving all the information. The instituions must be "religious instituions" in order to make this claim. It can't be just some business that says "hey I as the owner have religious beliefs so therefore I don't want to cover birtch control for my female employees". If you look on the employment site of any Catholic organization, they blatantly say on it that you must be willing to live the Catholic lifestyle if you want to work there. Which, is their right to do as a religious institution. I don't want to live that lifestyle myself, so I choose not to apply for a job there. That's my right as a woman. Just the same as if I want to smoke, I'm not going to apply for a job at a hospital, etc.
This is a stupid law, and Arizona legislators know it. It is in direct violation of federal privacy regulations and will fail to pass any court challenge.
Since when did the Taliban take over our country. Since when does religion control how our laws are made and applied? Since when does a company have the right to impose it's religious beliefs on its secular employees.? Separation of church and state is there for a reason. As a woman, I do not want to have to explain myself to an employer or have them making a "moral" judgement on my personal lifestyle. This is Insane and should be fought by every thinking rational human in our country.. what will be the next "moral" judgement allowed?
Interesting article - one thing that springs to mind is that it may be in the employers interests to not have members of staff taking maternity leave! :o) I maybe could understand if the argument was that as a personal lifestyle choice to aid sexual activities the company wasn't prepared to pay, but even then it's a grey area. Could this lead to a minor class divide of sorts between the have-and-have-not's where preventing unplanned pregnancies becomes the reserve of the better-paid employed elite? Using the pill to regulate heavy periods may result in fewer sick days for the organisation, so again despite the cost of the medication, there may be financial benefits to employers. Maybe a converse study of the cost of employee pregnancy would show that it is in the business's interests to get MORE female employees in the pill (and what about the male pill?). However. Using religion as a control mechanism is ridiculous. I can imagine a new blame and claim culture emerging for employees suing employers for unplanned pregnancies. What a can of worms!
no I think it says that an EMPLOYER can demeand the proof that prescription is for a medical condition and not simply for birth control. as in : to treat a hormonal disbalance coused by PMS regulate painfull/cripling PMS condition some other medical conditions that respond to medicine used in BC pills than you are covered... otherwise (if your prescription is only for birth control) an EMPLOYER have the right to refuse the coverage.
Until Obamacare was passed you had the right to not purchase health care insurance and negotiate your own health care prices. You could save your money ($1000 + a month in insurance payments) and pay as you go. Now you are banned from doing that by a mandate forcing you to purchase a product you hate. Will your 2012 vote reflect your anger? I doubt it.
It doesn't say that an employer can fire someone for using birth control, but it specifically removes the protections that were in there to prevent such actions which at a minimum seems to imply a tacit approval for such reprisals.
Employment at any particular business is optional. Employers generally pay as much for your insurance as you do, and no law says they have to. This law is about letting the employer decide what they want to offer. The only way tyranny could possibly be involved is if employer-offered-insurance was the only insurance available. Your entire post is about trying to cover up your own desire to impose your own set of tyrannical standards on free Americans. You miss the entire point of the law because you disagree with the belief system of one of the parties this law will benefit. I don't care what their beliefs are, they have the right to offer whatever they want, and you as the employee have the right to choose another insurance provider or another employer altogether. Acting as if there is any other choice than those two is showing your ignorance.
Your comment: "The only exception would be if YOUR religion REQUIRED you to have sex outside marriage. Then he'd be firing you because of YOUR religion, which IS illegal under federal law" would it be up to you as an employee to inform your employer of this prior to taking the role OR prior to beginning joining/practising such a religion? If not, then what's to stop people from getting fired and then declaring their membership to a religion all of a sudden and taking an employer to court?
"A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source." This bill removes every occurrence of this clause. By doing this, the door has been opened for ANY employer in the state to be able to fire any employee that uses any United States FDA approved prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies.
This bill opens up the door to exactly that kind of abuse by removing the discrimination clauses in their entirety instead of just removing the word "religious" from them.
What you are prattling about is not in the proposed law. It has no more and no less prescription proof requirements than any other US health care law. And the proof goes to the insurance company. Just like all of us have been doing for decades when our doctor prescibes something. You give the prescription to the pharmacists who validates your insurance covers it. You pay the co-pay and have your meds. This law does not change that. You might have heard of the appeal process. If you work for a religious organization that does not cover birth control for religious reasons this proposed law allows you to appeal to have the birth control medicine covered if it is prescribed for a medical condition. Such as the regulation of unusually heavy menstrual cycles. The federal rules announced recently by the Obama administration do not allow such appeals. Making this law MORE flexible in helping people get coverage for medical needs. Shocking that a state can actually write a better law than the feds.
This is between the insurance company and the employee. Nothing is divulged to the employer. HIPPA doesn't apply. And BTW, HIPPA isn't part of the Constitution.
If you would care to read this piece of crap (available for review at http://www.azleg.gov//FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/2r/bills/hb2625h.htm&Session_ID=107) you will see that the entire religious institution portion has been ripped out so it applies for ALL employers.
Now why anyone would take a job where the employer has that much control over their personal lives is what astounds me. Maybe we should go dancing around your hard drive and see if everyone is as immaculate as you're demanding your employees be? Come on, I respect religious rights, but I still think there's a point where you're imposing instead of just leading. You're the boss so your word is final. Too bad you didn't care a bit more about what others feel is their right.
The hitch in your argument is that some of the religious institutions receive federal money. If they want to take the high road and discriminate against people who believe differently then they should not take any federal money and rely on their own income streams. The federal government is not supposed to support or oppose any religion although that is the theory and not always the practice. Rush and the contraceptive issue shows that the surface of this is religious freedom based but the real core is about sex and how to control sex. I am surprised that Rush has not been taken to task for muddling the religious freedom argument.
"Not only this, but the bill also makes it easier for Arizona bosses to fire women for using birth control in order to prevent pregnancy. Employers in Arizona may now have the power to fire someone if they disapprove of their sex lives ??? that is a uncomfortable thought." Charlie, where does it say this in the bill? why are you sensationalizing your opinion? why are you stating your opinion as fact when you say "take the pill, get fired" ? IMHO pregnacy prevention is not a medical condition. the Catholic Church has ALWAYS paid for birth control pills when they are used to treat a medical condition. what they object to is taking birth control and the morning after pill to prevent or terminate life. people are trying to blind us to the facts that they are trying to trample on religious freedom by hiding behind 'women's rights'. also, i simply don't understand why Smart Planet doesn't get called out more often for posting opinion as fact, getting facts wrong, and crediting people with innovation when they were not the first.
The republicans (at least in this case) are not controlling anything. They are simply allowing more freedoms.
The word is, "Talipublicans." Get ready for floor-length dresses and covering your hair, inferior women. Next will be virginity tests.
Just as a company shouldn't be allowed to make a moral decision for you, you should not be allowed to make a moral decision for the company. This law does not allow them to prevent you from taking the pill. It only gives the employer the right not to pay for it. If the employer feels that paying for the pill is morally wrong, who are you to force them to do it. You do what you find morally acceptable and so will your employer. That is all this bill says.
"Since when does religion control how our laws are made and applied?" Religion has had a tyrannical and regressive grip on the politics of this country for the last 40+ years - where have you been.
There is no such thing as "separation of church and state" in the Constitution. The First Amendment prevents the Government from creating a "state religion" and prevents it from creating laws that restrict religious freedom as this idiotic contraception mandate does. And if you are going to tell me ANYONE can't afford to go to Walmart and buy the pill for nine bucks a month, you are an idiot.
[i]Since when does a company have the right to impose it's religious beliefs on its secular employees.? Separaton of church and state is there for a reason. [/i] Since the dawn of time, that's when. Companies have always been able to impose their beliefs on their employees, there's no law prohibiting it. In fact, there are laws preventing the government from prohibiting it, it's called the 1st Amendment, which you mention in your second sentence. The 1st Amendment applies ONLY to the government and does NOT apply to private citizens or companies. If I owned a business and I wanted rules that followed Christian beliefs, or Sharia law, or any other religious rules that you want to think of, I can do it legally, because I own the business and I determine what its rules should be. The only time that doesn't apply is when I accept federal money and there is a stipulation to accepting that money that I can't do that. Then I decide whether or not to impose the government's restrictions or not by accepting or not accepting that money. EDIT: The rules I apply to my company employees mustn't violate civil or federal laws but as long as that criteria is met, then I can do pretty much as I please in my own company. I can not hire a person if they smoke, I can fire someone on moral grounds etc.
That is not in the law as written. Existing laws prevents the firing you speak of so any language about it in this law would be redundant and therefore dropped as not needed. You are falling for a common tactic used by elected representatives opposed to something. They add language to a bill that is not needed just so they can point to sheepal and say -those meanies removed the protections.-
This bill removes the discrimination clause for those who choose another insurance option in order to get the coverage the employer opposes. In Arizona, an at-will state, it opens the door for firing if the employer finds out and decides his religious or moral beliefs should be imposed on the employee (which is why his insurance option doesn't include this coverage in the first place). And this is not tyrranical?
The real point you are talking about is access to the world's best health care system that is not an equal access for all. If you are self employed and can afford good health insurance then good for you but if you are unemployed or underemployed then it is harder to get good access to health care. Some insurance plans are ok if you never get a serious health problem and many find out how limited their policy is when they really need it. Part of the problem is the legislation that produced what is derided as ObamaCare. The original idea was to have a single payer system, but that got shot down because people thought it was socialism and communism and antiamerican. What we have is a compromise that is still being implemented and the controversies are more political than health oriented. You read what you want in my post but I was not pushing for any set of beliefs.
...if people were responsible for their own health care, employers would not be able to impose power like this. But you haven't seen anything yet. Just wait until we're all getting our health care needs supplied directly by the state. This is just the beginning...
All it is doing is making the exemption that existed for religious employers only available to ALL employers. It is making it easier for ALL employers to tell their employees that they must cover the FULL cost of contraceptives themselves. No more co-pay only if you want birth control.
but it is implied by the removal of the protection from discrimination by an employer if an employee chooses to obtain other insurance coverage or contraceptives from another source. Is pregnancy a medical condition? According to most people it is, so by logical extension contraception is a means of preventing a medical condition much like getting annual flu shots. What is really happening here is that our ever dumber politicians are attempting to create an arena in the work environment where the employer's religous beliefs or moral convictions take precedence over the employee's. And all of this is still ignoring the blatant HIPPA violation.
Seems to me that the Catholic Church seems to equate THEIR freedom of religion to the right to impose Their beliefs on others. In 1492 they did it to the Jewish population of Spain when they forced them convert or leave. If they suspected that the converted Jews were still secretly practicing their faith they were tortured and burned at the stake for the good of their souls. Then they artfully renamed the whole thing the Spanish Inquisition!
You still need to include the cost of the doctor's visit for the pelvic exam and STD testing required to get the prescription in the first place since this is no longer covered as well which can run up to $200 each time around the block.
This is case of privacy for individuals. This proposal is a breach of privacy. Do men have to tell if they get prescriptions for viagra?
How does this bill imply firing. The article above, which is clearly against the bill, even states that firing somebody because they take the pill is still illegal.
This bill does nothing but give the employer the freedom to follow their religion. It does not give them any power over their employees. It simply gives them the power to choose what they spend their money on.
Why are people so against allowing a company to see what the company is paying for? Anytime you want a company to pay for something, the company should know what it is and have the final decision about where its funds are spent.