A new state bill allowing employers to opt out of paying for contraception and abortions in employee insurance plans.
(Image source: KOCO ) BY LOGAN TITTLE Ever the hot button topic in Oklahoma: reproductive health. And the latest debate surrounds a new state bill allowing employers to opt out of paying for contraception and abortions in employee insurance plans. The measure, Senate Bill 452, created by Republican Sen. Clark Jolley says his reasoning revolves around the moral conscience of the employer. “We have employers who are deciding to get rid of health insurance for their employees because they don't want to commit a sin in their own personal lives of offering these coverages.” ( KFOR) Legislators reportedly sent letters to the U.S. Appeals Court supporting Oklahoma based Hobby Lobby in its fight against companies being required to provide birth control—such as the morning after pill— mandated by the federal health care reform law. ( KOCO ) But Jolley says this new measure doesn’t necessarily surround religion. He says the idea for the bill was sparked by one of his constituents , Dr. Dominic Pedulla who describes himself as a natural family planning medical consultant, and believes birth control “poisons women’s bodies.” “Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother ... They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn't bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.” A writer for the left-leaning blog ThinkProgress.org says otherwise, citing the FDA’s approval of the medication in 1960. “...and that type of contraception is so safe that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends making it available without a prescription.” And she’s not alone—a writer for the Daily Banter says flat out Jolley is treating women like they’re idiots by saying the ability to become pregnant is part of a woman’s identity, which he bets “...would not be part of your average woman’s sense of identity if you were to ask them...” Of course, Oklahoma isn’t the only state fighting especially hard against the new health care law’s clauses dealing with reproductive health services. The American Civil Liberties Union has mapped out 20 states where some women seeking to terminate a pregnancy can’t get insurance coverage, eight of which do not provide any coverage for abortion care.