May 17, 2012

Arizona Women Lose Their Privacy

Sure seems that way, don't it?

In March I (and journalists and bloggers everywhere) wrote about the proposed Arizona law that would make it possible for employers to require their female employees to provide proof of a medical condition that must be treated by birth control, and that women who don't provide this proof can be fired for using birth control for birth control purposes.

This same proposed bill was signed into law over the weekend, just in time for Arizona women to celebrate mother's day. I, naively for one, didn't think it would pass because of how ridiculous, not to mention unconstitutional, it is. If planning your family was something you wanted to do, your employer can now make that a lot more difficult. The supposed idea behind the law is to prevent employers from being forced to provide their employees with a service or product that conflicts with their religious beliefs. Supporters have said that it would be unconstitutional to force a church or religious hospital to pay for a medication that it believes is immoral, which most people might agree with at face value. But the law goes so much further than that. 

First, there's a loophole that allows any company to claim religious or moral exemption, allowing any employer to invade the privacy of any female employee or fire her for her personal life. Second, while the law does say that female employees do not have to disclose their medical records to their employer, but it's vague in how exactly these women are supposed to prove (because they do have to provide proof) they aren't taking the slut pills for their "slutty fuck-making*." Third, the bill actually removes parts of the law that this bill was designed after, namely that health insurance plans that cover other medications must also cover birth control. So now, not only do employer health insurance plans not have to cover birth control if they don't want to (Viagra is covered...), they can dictate what their female employees do with the birth control they're prescribed, over threat of losing their jobs. Oh, and anything that resembles or can be confused with abortion pills are excluded from health care plans, but that does kind of go without saying.

But hey, Arizona employers are free to practice their religion and enforce it upon their employees, so there's that. Yay America.

*Best phrase ever.

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