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State Efforts to Reject Contraceptive Coverage Laws on Religious Grounds

State Efforts to Reject Contraceptive Coverage Laws on Religious Grounds

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Jessica Arons and Elizabeth Rich provides an update on state-level efforts to undermine the Obamacare provision to guarantee no-cost contraception.
Jessica Arons and Elizabeth Rich provides an update on state-level efforts to undermine the Obamacare provision to guarantee no-cost contraception.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jul 30, 2012
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1Center or American Progress | State Eorts to Reject Contraceptive Coverage Laws on Religious Grounds
State Efforts to Reject ContraceptiveCoverage Laws on Religious Grounds
Jessica Arons and Elizabeth Rich July 30, 2012
Introduction
On Augus 1, 2012, a provision o Presiden Barack Obama’s healh care law, he Aordable Care Ac, will go ino eec—one ha guaranees coverage in new healhplans o a range o prevenive services or women, including conracepion, wih noco-pays or oher cos-sharing. Because some religions objec o conracepion, heObama adminisraion creaed an exempion or houses o worship ha do no wano provide conracepive coverage o heir employees. Te adminisraion also creaedan accommodaion or religiously aliaed hospials, universiies, and chariies hagives hem a one-year waiver unil Augus 1, 2013, and hen requires he insurer oprovide conracepive coverage direcly o he employees.Despie all o hese seps o ensure he religious belies o hose opposed o conracep-ion are proeced under he law, some poliicians claim ha he provision violaesreligious libery and have aced o block i. In he naion’s capial he U.S. Senae inMarch rejeced an amendmen, inroduced by Sen. Roy Blun (R-MO), which wouldhave allowed employers o deny o heir employees coverage or conracepion or any oher healh service o which hey had a religious or moral objecion. In he U.S. Houseo Represenaives, an appropriaions measure is pending ha could deund eors oenorce he conracepive coverage regulaion,
1
bu Speaker o he House John Boehner(R-OH) has signaled ha no independen legislaion akin o he Blun amendmen would be aken up by he House o Represenaives.
2
Conservaive eors o undermine he Obamacare provision o guaranee no-cosconracepion also have been happening a he sae level. Nine saes have consideredlegislaion or ballo measures ha would eiher rejec he ederal regulaion or under-mine conracepive coverage in sae law.
3
Tis ac shee provides an updae on hosesae-level eors. We deail he measures in hese nine saes below, bu briey hereis a synopsis o recen developmens: 
 
2Center or American Progress | State Eorts to Reject Contraceptive Coverage Laws on Religious Grounds
•
4 saes (Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, and New Hampshire) considered legislaionamending sae saues ha required insurance coverage or conracepion, expandingemployers’ reusal righs.
•
3 saes (Colorado, Idaho, and Michigan) considered symbolic measures haexplicily rejeced he ederal conracepive coverage guaranee.
•
 Voers in one sae (Norh Dakoa) considered a ballo iniiaive ha would haveallowed people o break he law in he name o religious libery, while an eor inanoher sae (Colorado) o propose a similar ballo measure was wihdrawn beorei could ace a voe.
•
One sae wihou is own conracepive coverage law (Oklahoma) considered legisla-ion ha would have allowed employers and employees o op ou o coverage haincludes conracepion or aborion services.Below we look in deail a wha’s happened in hese nine saes.
Arizona
Te sae legislaure passed and Gov. Janice K. Brewer (R) signed ino law in May a billha permis a “religiously aliaed employer” o oer healh plans ha do no coverconracepives based on he employer’s or benefciary’s religious objecions, changingexising Arizona saues. In he bill, a religiously aliaed employer is defned as anorganizaion whose incorporaion documens make i clear ha religious belies arecenral o is operaing principles.Under he new law an employee can “receive reimbursemen or conracepives pre-scribed or non-conracepive medical purposes.”
4
Bu he law removes proecionsor employees who independenly obain conracepion prescripions or insurancecoverage rom anoher source, leaving open he opporuniy or religious employerso discriminae agains employees who hold dieren views.
5
Te Arizona law is indirec conic wih he ederal conracepive coverage guaranee.
Colorado
Focus on he Family, a righ-wing Chrisian advocacy group, had proposed a ballomeasure banning governmen inererence wih an individual or organizaions religiousreedom. Te organizaion, however, wihdrew he measure in May. Te group hadpromoed a similar measure in 2010, which i also wihdrew.
6
 
3Center or American Progress | State Eorts to Reject Contraceptive Coverage Laws on Religious Grounds
Te sae Senae also rejeced a symbolic measure in May urging Congress o pass heBlun amendmen.
7
Georgia
Te sae Senae passed legislaion in March exemping a religious employer romGeorgia’s conracepive coverage law, which currenly does no permi any employero rerain rom covering conracepion.
8
Te bill was no aken up in he House, and helegislaive session has adjourned or he year.
Idaho
Gov. C.L. “Buch” Oter (R) is considering a nonbinding resoluion passed earlier his year by he sae House and Senae urging Congress and Presiden Obama o invalidaehe ederal conracepive coverage guaranee.
9
Te Idaho House also inroduced a bill o exemp insurance plans rom conracepivecoverage under sae law, bu he bill never go ou o commitee.
10
Michigan
In February, he sae House adoped a symbolic resoluion urging Presiden Obamao reverse he ederal regulaion on conracepive coverage and asking Congress o passlegislaion o proec he righ o conscience.
11
Te sae Senae has no inroduced acompanion bill. 
Missouri
Te sae House and Senae passed legislaion in May and March, respecively,expanding exising law allowing employees, insurers, or employers o be exemp romMissouri’s conracepive coverage law due o a religious objecion.
12
On July 12 Gov. Jay Nixon (D) veoed he legislaion.
13
Bu proponens o he measure may atemp o over-ride his veo when he General Assembly reconvenes in Sepember.

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