At Talking Points Memo, Pema Levy reports on the Republican state houses that have taken the failed Blunt amendment—which would have granted a broad “conscience” exemption to employers for virtually anything—and run with it:
Several state legislatures were inspired rather than dissuaded by the contraception debate in Washington, and are considering their own versions of the Blunt Amendment — keeping alive an issue national Republicans thought they were putting to bed. Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho and Georgia have taken up bills to expand exemptions for contraception coverage. Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Idaho and Wyoming lawmakers are moving symbolic resolutions condemning the administration’s contraception coverage rule.
The Arizona bill, in particular, is an exercise in conservative disregard for “liberty” when it comes to the rights of women:
[The bill] would require women who need hormonal contraception for medical reasons to prove that they are not using birth control to prevent pregnancy, which means divulging their private medical history to their employer. That makes it a “serious privacy interest problem,” Anjali Abraham, public policy director at the Arizona ACLU, told TPM.
It gets even worse. Once a woman has forked over her private medical records, they could potentially be used against her. The bill would repeal a longstanding protection that prohibits religious employers from discriminating against employees who obtain contraception outside of their employer’s health care plan.
It’s plain to me that this is an attempt to use state power to shame women for having sex. Given the extent to which the right’s attacks on Sandra Fluke have all but devolved into standard-issue slut-shaming, I expect to see a lot more of this, unfortunately.