If Republican legislators have their way, Arizona women will no longer be able to use birth control without their employers’ permission. I wish I was making this up. House Bill 2625 mirrors the argument in Washington, where Congressional Republicans are still dressing up their campaign against birth control as a principled stand for freedom.
My 68-year old mother recently wrote to Senator Jeff Sessions on this issue, receiving a reply that merely confirmed her opinion that an American Taliban has emerged in the Republican Party. The dissonance is palpable in this excerpt:
While I respect your views, I believe the mandate sets a dangerous precedent that the federal government has the power to dictate how we live our lives, practice our faiths, and exercise our constitutional liberties. It is my belief that the finest health care for America includes direct communications between patients and providers.
To Senator Jeff Sessions, “we” doesn’t mean my mother, who had only two children and only when she was ready to have them. “We” is the employer, who should enjoy tyranny over the means of reproduction. Birth control access is a basic part of every woman’s freedom to work and earn; none of her other liberties mean anything without it. Sessions again:
I believe this ruling is an unjustified action that violates our First Amendment right. It is my opinion that both providers and consumers of health care should be able to practice and receive medical treatment in accordance with their religious and moral convictions. Regardless true respect for diversity and freedom would require the government to allow plainly religious institution the ability to conduct their worthwhile institutions as they see fit.
Hokum. The issue is whether insurance companies should be required to cover birth control for women whose employers have 11th Century opinions about sexuality. The Catholic Church is allowed to have those opinions, but they do not get to force them on any American woman. And “force” is the operative term here, because Arizona’s bill
would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.
“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” (Majority Whip Debbie) Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.” (Link)
Instead, the Republican view is that government should give “mom and pop employers” (a disingenuous talking point) the right to police their employees’ medical records and treatment. It is exactly as tyrannical as the death panels of teapublican imagination. As I keep saying, they are the fear they want us to feel.