Split Ariz. Republicans Stall Birth Control Measure

A split in the Republican party between moderates and conservatives has stalled a birth control bill aimed at allowing employers to opt out of covering contraception in their health plans. 

The Arizona Republic: Arizona Democrats, Moderates Block State Birth-Control Bill
A fissure between moderates and conservatives within Arizona's Republican party has become more obvious at the state Legislature. On Wednesday, the political split led to the downfall of a controversial bill to allow employers and insurance companies to opt out of covering contraception for religious reasons. … But while the death of the contraception bill has Democratic lawmakers celebrating, experts say it's not likely a sign that one of the nation's most conservative legislatures has suddenly had a change of political heart -- lawmakers have still introduced bills promoting conservative causes (Beard Rau and Wingett Sanchez, 3/28).

The Associated Press: Arizona State Senate Defeats Bill On Contraception
Majority Republicans were split Wednesday as the Arizona Senate narrowly rejected a bill to allow more employers to drop health insurance coverage for birth control amid concerns that the proposal jeopardized women's care and privacy. Supporters had changed the bill ahead of the vote Wednesday in an attempt to provide assurances that a woman wouldn't have to explain to her employer why she wants contraceptives. The amended provisions were a response to criticism that the proposal could force women to divulge private health matters to employers, an interpretation that supporters of the bill disputed (Davenport, 3/28).

In Kansas, the legislature has advanced a bill to allow pharmacists to avoid having to give patients pills that might cause abortion.

The Kansas City Star: Kansas House Advances 'Conscience' Protection For Drugs That Might Cause Abortion
The Kansas House is moving into the birth control debate with a bill that would allow pharmacists to bow out of providing drugs they believe might cause an abortion. The chamber tentatively agreed Wednesday to advance the bill, which is primarily intended to broaden the legal protections for health care providers who don’t want to be involved in the abortion procedure (Cooper, 3/28).

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