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House Approves Religious Ban on Contraception Coverage

The state House voted Thursday to let ANY employer refuse to provide contraceptive coverage based on its religious beliefs.

State laws says companies that provides prescription coverage for workers must pay for contraceptives.  There is an exception for religious employers. But that is limited to churches and certain nonprofit service affiliates. This legislation would expand that exception to any company that claimed a religious reason for refusing to fund birth control. Rep. John Kavanagh said that ban would include the "morning-after'' pill. 

"When it involves killing a fertilized egg, it is killing a human being," said Kavanagh.  "And under that principle, people who are Catholic believe that they are committing a wrong by doing this. Whether you believe it or not, in our society, you have to respect that."

But Rep. Lela Alston said that as a woman, a mother and a grandmother, she is appalled at the debate.

"You men have no business lecturing the women of Arizona about the use of birth control and whether or not it is a crime," she said.

And Alston said while this legislation deals only in who pays for the contraceptives, she believes this measure is unconstitutional.