Use Birth Control? You’re Fired!

First, Kansas brings us a bill that gives immunity to doctors who lie to couples about the results of their prenatal tests in order to prevent them from getting an abortion. Now, Arizona has proposed a bill that would give your boss the green light to fire you for using birth control. You think I am kidding? I wish. For a decade now, Arizona insurance companies have been required to provide coverage for contraception just like other prescriptions. But, because they saw an opening to score some political points, some politicians there are suddenly moving to take that coverage away from women and their families.

And we aren’t just talking about exemptions for religiously affiliated employers like Catholic hospitals and universities. We are talking about authorizing secular, for-profit employers to deny a woman coverage for birth control if the employer doesn’t believe that she and her partner should be allowed to have sex without the risk of pregnancy. Yup, that’s right. If the owner of the fast food restaurant where you work opposes birth control, Arizona legislators want to give him a legal right to deny you insurance coverage for your pills.

Sadly, that isn’t even the half of it. You may want to sit down for this one. Arizona legislators know that whether or not her insurance covers it, a woman may still get the prescription she needs to prevent an unintended pregnancy. They want to give her boss the right to control that, too. The bill they are pushing would not only allow employers to take the insurance coverage away, but it would also make it easier for an employer to fire an employee who has obtained birth control from another source. You heard me right–to fire her. And I thought Rush Limbaugh’s comments were as low as you could go on this one.

Get involved and tell politicians: Don’t play politics with women’s health. Act now.

The Arizona bill has–incredibly–already passed the state House and, yesterday, a Senate committee, but we can still stop it. We’ve seen what can happen if we make our voices heard. So, if you’ve had enough; if you think the decision about whether to have a child is one for you and your partner, not your boss and your senator, I urge you to speak up now. Tell the legislators in Arizona to stop playing politics with women’s health and put personal and private decisions back in the hands of a woman and her family.

Reprinted with permission from ACLU Blog of Rights.

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  1. I am just boggling at how this is even possible.

  2. Hi, I`m not an American citizen, I live in Canada. Is there any way I can lend my support?

  3. Time for a million women march on the mall in DC !

  4. I don’t even know what to say about this. in what universe is this kind of thing even considered the thought of a rational person?

  5. First off, count me as another person appalled that certain members of the Arizona Legislature are playing politics in regards to this issue of women’s health and call hypocrisy on those who proclaim their desire for small government while increasing governmental intrusions into the personal lives of individual citizens. However, I think it should be noted that, under the prior law, only RELIGIOUS EMPLOYERS were prohibited from discriminating against an employee who obtains insurance or prescriptions for contraceptives. Nothing in either this Section of the Arizona Code or the Arizona Civil Rights Act as written currently prohibits a non-religious employer from firing someone for the same reasons (unless one could convince a court that taking contraceptives could be classified as a disability which IMO it would not under the AZ definition). While I agree with those individuals who are appalled at what is happening, I do think it’s important to recognize the scope of what is at stake, including deciding if the issue should be why aren’t ALL employers prohibited from such discrimination?

    • Good point, Kevin. My guess is that the law presumes only religious employers would be the ones likely to oppose contraception. And I have to say that my experience supports that – I’ve never met with any secular arguments against birth control, only objections from religious people or organisations. However, you’re right that it’s a potentially dangerous loophoole that needs to be closed.

  6. Seems like a Dystopian novel.

  7. This is insane. I live in the UK, where I have never had to pay for contraception and the idea that women in the US are confined to what insurance companies will provide, as well as this added constraint from employers saddens me. For such a deeply personal thing as family planning, there is no need AT ALL for it to be tied with politics.

  8. Iliana Echo says:

    While we’re on the subject of playing politics with women’s lives, check this one out:

  9. Luther E. Franklin says:

    Further Proof that the “Christian Right is Neither!”.

  10. Wow, how ass-backwards is this. When their female employees get pregnant and have the kids, are these same employers going to provide generous paid maternity leaves, give some flexible time off for having to take off because Little Junior gets sick, injured or gets suspended from school for getting into fights? Will these employers give some flexibility for when parents have to take time off because of dealing with their teenage kids’ antics, such as wrecking the family car, skipping school, etc.? Are they going to increase the wages and provide handsome benefits, including college funds? Gee, I did not think so.

  11. Lain Campbell says:

    The rest of the world is really, really concerned. It seems America has gone mad. We recently read that some states own the water you collect from your own roof, your staple grains are being genetically modified whether you like it or not, 80% of cosmetics are never tested because law-makers have shares in pharmaceutical companies, the Kardashians leave us dumbstruck … and now this. I am in South Africa, but have lifed in the US. Keep up the good work. Women will change the world. We now have a voice. Nothing can silence us through social media. Good luck with your mission! Lain.

  12. Frieda A. Stahl says:

    The men who concoct these provisions in legislation are certifiably insane: obsessed, demented, and dangerous to the entire human race. Compared to other countries (see posts from Canada and UK), the U.S. looks like an antediluvian fiefdom. We must defeat these cretins, now in their legislatures and permanently in November.

  13. I thought this was America. Where people have freedom. Doesn’t sound like it to me. I’m moving to the UK.

  14. Something sounds fishy here. Reality check here – How would an employer even get information about someone obtaining birth control? Doctors are not allowed to give out such information. I don’t believe this, and neither should you. Use your brains people. Someone is stirring the pot.

  15. I’m absolutely shocked! Some of the things I read in the past months about what happens in the United States, what kind of bills are being proposed and so on, sound like the Dark Ages to me and to most Europeans who are reading this. I live in Germany, of course we also have a lot of people here, who live in the past and would like to keep women “barefoot and pregnant”, something like this could never happen here. I and only I decide about using birth control or not, and that should go for any woman in this world! America, the land of the free? Free to do what?

  16. I see this as a new tactic to make everyone to agree on legalizing abortion. Bringing up what does not make sense like getting fire for using birth control. This is ridiculous.

    The Manipulation of the Media is every day worst in US, and the worst is that people follow and do not think.

    Most people including employers agree on birth control. Only the Catholic church refuses birth control traditionally. And this position has been so weak that nobody with a little education pay attention to it. But, when it comes to abortion, most religious people are completely against it.

    So, the only way to make everyone agree is to make all religious views ridiculous. This is what the media is doing.

    • Just though I should point out that abortion IS legal in the USA.

    • Kathleen Matson says:

      Bazaar as this sounds, this is not media propaganda. Look up articles about actions taking place in various states. Even in our federal congress there is a proposal to undo a law in DC which was put into place by the city council that bars firing someone for their reproductive decisions, including using birth control. One goal here is to undermine the Obamacare mandate that insurance policies must cover contraceptives. Talk about a slippery slope! We started with no federal tax dollars can be used to pay for abortions. Then Religious institutions don’t have to provide insurance for contraceptives to their employees because they view some as abortsfacts, and that would violate their religious freedom. Then if not a religious organization but a public business such as a pharmacy, the owner or an employee refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives based on their religious beliefs. Now employers should have the right to fire you for your reproductive decisions? Why should this be any of their business? Very scary.

  17. America the free- yeah right. This is insane. I am from Canada and can not even begin to understand someone else let alone my employer having control of my medication including contraception. What’s next?

  18. On March 24, 2012 there was a panel on Religious Freedom and Public Policy listen to Cathi Herrod fro Arizona. You will see that all of our rights are being over turned in that state it is bill #1365 in Arizona I am including the link from cspan
    on the video go to 52:32 seconds and you can here what they are doing in Arizona they are going against the constitution.

  19. It was Bill 2625 This is a cut and paste. I also read that Kansas will try and pass the same bill.
    A new controversial bill regarding birth control has been advanced in Arizona which would allow employers to fire women who take the pill to prevent pregnancy, rather than for health purposes, based on religious and moral belief.

    A new bill regarding birth control has been advanced in Arizona which would allow employers to fire women who take the pill to prevent pregnancy, rather than for health purposes, based on religious and moral beliefs.
    The current law states that birth control is covered under health insurance plans for women in Arizona for contraceptive purposes as well as health concerns. However, the new birth control bill, House Bill 2625, states that women who want their birth control pill to be covered by their insurance plans must verify its purpose to be solely for medical reasons and not to prevent pregnancy. The bill would grant employers to deny female employees the right to be covered based on religious beliefs.
    The new bill was passed by Arizona’s House of Representatives in early March and was endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday with a 6-2 vote. According to Arizona House Bill 2625, employers can refuse coverage for birth control “for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes,” forcing women to “submit a claim” to prove medical conditions which require treatment for birth control.

  20. There are beliefs that discourage the use of contraceptives but it will also be important to value freedom of choice. There should really be nothing to worry unless there are already negative effects that may put one’s health at risk and prevent efficiency when performing tasks.

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