Senate agrees to vote again on birth control bill

PHOENIX - A controversial bill allowing employers to eliminate birth control pills from their health plans is back for a second vote in the state senate.

Senator Nancy Barto, (R-Dist. 7), is a huge supporter of House Bill 2625 and used a 24 hour rule that allows a legislator to place a bill that was voted down back into the hopper for another vote.

Barto feels the bill has been misperceived in the media which caused a firestorm of opposition.

The current law allows religious organizations to opt out of paying for birth control on health plans if it is against their religious views.

Barto said HB 2625 is just taking that law a step further and expanding it to all employers.

"What we are making sure of is that the employer isn't mandated to violate their conscious right," she said. "We are not taking away the rights of a woman to be able to access contraception, that right is still intact, but they need to pay for it."

Barto tells ABC15 when the bill makes its comeback on the senate floor there will be changes clarifying that a woman will not need to explain to employers why the contraceptives are needed.

"I think the amendment did a good job clarifying that employers will never have access to a woman's medical history according to HIPAA," Barto said.

"So they clarify here and there that an employer can't access private medical information, but insurers will still have to collect information that a woman isn't using contraception for family planning purposes and that's a privacy problem," said Arizona's American Civil Liberties Union Representative Anjali Abraham.

The organization plans to continue its battle to keep HB 2625 from becoming a law stating it is not only a danger to women's rights but opens them up for discrimination.

"The anti-discrimination provision that we currently have in law is still being struck down by the bill," Abraham said.

The Senate will vote again on HB 2625 next week.

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