What do Justin Olsen, Justin Pierce, Frank Pratt, Cecil Ash, Steve Court, Eddie Farnsworth, John Fillmore, Tom Forese, J.D. Mesnard, and Steve Urie have in common?
Beyond being East Valley Republican legislators, they all want to use the government to intrude on the private lives of women.
They give the lie to their claim that the government which governs least governs best.
In fact, they use the government’s power to force women to reveal their medical histories to their employers. Even more, they want to allow employers to discriminate against employees who use contraception.
How did all this come about?
Glendale Representative Debbie Lesko’s HB 2625. A bill that ostensibly protects an employer’s religious freedom, in this case the right to deny employees contraception coverage in employer-provided health insurance.
But Lesko’s bill goes far beyond that. And all of the Republicans listed above voted for it. Republicans who like to complain about Big Government. I guess they were against Big Government before they were for it.
Lesko’s legislation requires a woman whose employer’s insurance plan doesn’t provide elective contraception to prove to said employer that the contraception the woman applies for is medically necessary.
So a woman with a medical condition that requires contraception — and some do — must reveal to her employer just what that condition is.
If, that is, she wants the insurance to cover her.
Which means the employer becomes privy to information that’s none of his business.
But not in Ms. Lesko’s mind. No in her world, a woman’s medical condition is just between the woman, her doctor ... and her employer.
Lesko’s Law goes even further. Read section 7 of the bill’s summary, which says the bill “eliminates language that prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraception from another source.”
From “another source?” Excuse me. How is that employer supposed to even know? Does Ms. Lesko’s bill allow for an employer to inquire? And what does she mean by allowing an employer to “discriminate” against an employee who gets birth control from an outside source? Who knows, because the legislation doesn’t define it.
No problem for our East Valley Republicans, though, as they voted lockstep with the rest of the House Republicans, passing the bill and moving it to the Senate.
Ms. Lesko says this is all about the First Amendment: “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”
Apparently, Ms. Lesko’s reading of the Constitution ends with the First Amendment. She might want to read on a bit. Say, maybe to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
That would, of course, require Ms. Lesko and her band of spies to actually read the document. Fat chance.
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.