Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Signs Legislation Permitting Employers to Interrogate Female Employees About Contraception Use

A month or so ago, I wrote about a bill in Arizona (HB 2625) that would permit employers to opt-out of the so-called birth control mandate and interrogate their female employees about their sexual practices, all in the name of “religious freedom”:

You see, if a female employee seeks a medical prescription for contraception, an employer will be permitted to ask that employee for proof that she doesn’t plan to use the contraception for slutty fuck-making.  Using it for medical reasons is ok —  that’s medicine.

So, if you’re one of those women who uses slutpills for non-slutty reasons, then you’re ok.  You’ll get to keep your job.  Enjoy your ovarian cancer or your acne or whatever, but make sure you put that red cover on your TPS reports or the boss’ll have your head.

But if you’re running around like some sort of whore-nympho, then you better keep that shit on the down-low, because if The Man finds out you might-could get fired:

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 Monday to endorse a controversial bill that would allow Arizona employers the right to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious objections.

Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the  Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Lesko said this bill responds to a contraceptive mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law March 2010.

“My whole legislation is about our First Amendment rights and freedom of religion,” Lesko said. “All my bill does is that an employer can opt out of the mandate if they have any religious objections.”

Glendale resident Liza Love said the bill would impose on women’s rights to keep their medical records private.

Love spoke to the committee about her struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, conditions requiring her to use birth control.

“I wouldn’t mind showing my employer my medical records,” Love said. “But there are 10 women behind me that would be ashamed to do so.”
(read the rest)

At the time I wrote the post, I was accused of “vagina fauxrage” by some commenters at a blog that I shan’t name, but which starts with “B” and ends in “alloon Juice.”  In response to those accusations, I relayed a post from Susie Madrak at C&L:

Having been accused of vagina “fauxrage” in response to my post yesterday about Arizona’s crazy-ass bill which would permit employers to fire women for being slutty birth control users, I feel compelled to make a counterargument.

Actually, I’ll let Susie Madrak at Crooks & Liars make that counterargument for me:

 When I was 18, I worked for a publishing company that was a little bit strange. The female department head was a fundamentalist Christian and a member of Jews for Jesus who used to hold Tuesday morning prayer meetings before work. It was well known that if you never did attend a prayer meeting, you could forget about ever getting a raise.

My immediate supervisor was a young woman named Janice. One morning, while Janice was in the restroom, the department head went rummaging in her purse and found her birth control pills. Instead of talking to her, she called all the editorial clerks and assistants into her department and announced that we were no longer permitted to socialize with the editors, and that we were nothing more than “Jezebels, sluts and whores of Babylon”. (I found this particularly ironic since one of my co-workers graduated from a genteel and well-known Southern women’s Christian college. She’d confided in me that both her father and grandfather—church elders—had raped her. The father raped her shortly after she tearfully confided in him that she’d been raped by her grandfather. “The family that prays together”, etc. …)

The department head also announced that if it was discovered that anyone was using birth control pills, she would be fired immediately. And that if anyone didn’t like it, well, she could just resign.

So I went back to my desk and typed up a resignation letter. I also took another piece of paper, drew a swastika and taped it to the department head’s door. (What can I say? I was young.)

This was my introduction to the fact that there are these kinds of people in the world. And now the modern Republican party has adopted the untrammeled craziness that was my former department head.

Fauxrage? I don’t think so.  Is the bill unconstitutional? Yes.  Are there remedies available for women who get trapped by this craptastic bill?  Yes.  Is that the point? NO.

[read the rest at TRS-ABLC]

80 replies
  1. 1
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    FSM, i hate these assholes.

    inb4 ‘aren’t you ginning up outrage over nothing?’ bullshit.

  2. 2
    Hunter Gathers says:

    More panty sniffing bullshit from our White Trash Overlords.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said.

    “But I’m trying to minimize the differences,” he added.

  4. 4
    g says:

    Let the lawsuits begin!

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Oops. Arizona is about to crash head-on with the Constitution they claim to lurve so much. Pass the popcorn. This law will die sooner rather than later.

  6. 6
    Jeff Spender says:

    This is an outrage.

    And more than that, it’s depressing. I feel like the old bastards are trying to wind back the clock to a time that never existed.

    Anti-intellectualism and the distrust in science are two of our greatest problems right now. How can a prosperous society function if it is proud of its ignorance?

    I just don’t know. Maybe I’m too young to understand these things.

  7. 7
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Mrs. Fuckhead had to get her first employer-required drug test today after 30 years in the workforce – for an accounting position.

    She complained about how degrading it was.

  8. 8
    Jeff Spender says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Well, as a young person, this has always been the norm for me.

    It’s degrading, but you know what else is degrading? Not having a job.

    The teenage version of me would kick my ass for giving in and not taking a principled stand, but the teenaged me didn’t have bills and loans to pay off.

    Adulthood really just fucks you over.

  9. 9
    cynn says:

    Arizona has gone seriously off the rails. Way back when I was growing up in Scottsdale, your worst offense was riding your bike over someone’s desert property. Nobody was outraged about gays, immigrants, or damn women. Many of these folks exploited their niche, and did well. And why not? Now the place is an overgrown humanity dump.

  10. 10
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    MY religious and moral belief says that it’s grossly immoral to stick your nose into the love lives of consenting adults.

    And absolutely, there are bosses who would do that. I had a boss who got wind of the fact that I was queer, and spent the rest of my time working there trying to play armchair therapist with me over it. He would have luuuuuurved the chance to examine employees’ sex lives, making lofty pronouncements about “morality” when it was really just turning him on.

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Hopefully she’s been exercising her God given married rights to have absolutely no physical contact with her husband. And will subsequently pass cleanly.

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Corner Stone: that’s almost coherent. You’re slipping.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Lesko says “We don’t live in the Soviet Union”.

    But this asshole is working very, very hard to correct that deficiency.

    On edit: refreshing fizzy beverage to Roger Moore.

  14. 14
    Steeplejack says:

    All this bullshit will lead us (I hope) that much closer to a national single-payer health plan. Take all this icky “religious convictions” crap out of the hands of the fundamentalist right-wing idiots (whether they like it or not).

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Shouldn’t you be ponderously pondering your existence somewhere?

  16. 16
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Corner Stone: If I lived in Houston, I would be.

  17. 17
    Steeplejack says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I worry about this. I am currently on the sidelines, doing some freelance work and pondering my next move, and I dread having to face a drug test for employment. Not because I’m a drug user but because I have never had to take a test in 40 years in the working world and I don’t know whether I could submit to it. It might be the final “Yes, I’m a socialist DFH America hater!” moment for me.

  18. 18
    Citizen_X says:

    “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the  Soviet Union,” Lesko said.

    Oh yeah? Well, I believe we live in America, not in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

    Bitch.

  19. 19
    Jeff Spender says:

    @efgoldman:

    I don’t have the patience for such things.

    Perhaps one of you could distill the overall picture into a single slap-stick sentence?

  20. 20
    Steve says:

    Just remember, you can’t spell CRAZY without (R-AZ).

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    This all goes back to FDR’s(pbuh) biggest mistake. When he froze wages during WWII the only way for employers to compete was benefits like health insurance. We’ve been stuck with the feudal “your boss decides if you live or die” system ever since.

    He’s still our greatest president, but this one decision sucked.

  22. 22
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @MikeJ: Hmmm, i thought it went back to Lincoln’s decision to let the southern states back in. But I’ve been wrong before.

  23. 23
    FoxinSocks says:

    At my work recently, a co-worker had to take half a day off for some routine medical stuff. Not lady-type medical stuff, just regular type medical stuff (let me know if you can’t follow all my science talk).

    Well, she mentioned it off-hand to another co-worker, who proceeded to follow her around the office, telling her how much it would hurt, telling everybody what the other co-worker would be getting done. It was unpleasant and downright bizarre.

    When I needed to get medical stuff done, it felt so empowering to tell my boss, “I’m taking PTO. See ya on Tuesday.” No explanation, no interrogation.

    So this law, don’t underestimate how miserable it can make women.

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    Could we offer to give Arizona back to Mexico in exchange for a certain share of their oil?

  25. 25
    cynn says:

    @Steeplejack: I recently got yanked into a humiliating breath and urine test. No action taken, and tests were clean, but now I’m on notice.

  26. 26
    patrick II says:

    @cynn:

    I thought people in some jobs, such as airline pilot or train engineer or someone who dealt with classified information, had to put up with that. Has that changed?

  27. 27
    gaz says:

    @Mike in NC: Umm, I don’t think Mexico really wants arizona. Well, maybe, but only if we moved the knuckledraggers to other states first.

  28. 28
    Steeplejack says:

    @cynn:

    Why the reason for the drug test? (If any.)

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cynn:

    All those tests are for the proles. Management isn’t subject to them. Especially not the executive suite, where they routinely snort coke off the bare asses of hookers.

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:

    @patrick II:

    I can see drug testing for some critical jobs, but it has become commonplace for any job, which is ridiculous.

  31. 31
    David Koch says:

    What’s the big deal?

    They can still hold an aspirin between their knees.

  32. 32
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    a blog that I shan’t name, but which starts with “B” and ends in “alloon Juice.”

    Hmmm, lessee. Was it Bananalloon Juice? Batmanalloon Juice? Berickericksonalloon Juice?

    No? Well then, I give up.

  33. 33
    Citizen_X says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Why the reason for the drug test? (If any.)

    See cynn’s comment. I believe the key word was

    @cynn:

    humiliating

  34. 34
    magurakurin says:

    @Mike in NC:

    fuck oil. Y’all should trade Arizona for some chile en nogada. That shit rocks.

  35. 35
    trex says:

    “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers:

    1) that they can’t discriminate against women
    2) that they can’t discriminate against gays
    3) that they can’t discriminate against blacks
    4) that they can’t discriminate against Hispanics
    5) [fill in the blank] _____________

    because of their cherished “religious beliefs.”

    This is Arizona and this legislation provides cover and precedent for a multitude of civil rights infractions.

  36. 36
    patrick II says:

    Management’s right to know about which employees are taking birth control seems only fair. Management should know which employees they can sexually harass without having to worry about unwanted pregnancies.

  37. 37
    RossInDetroit says:

    Do they still do a hair test for drugs? I had to do one of those once. Michigan National Bank cut off a hank of my hair right down to the scalp to see if I had drugs residue in it. That was in ’96 for an IT job that I didn’t get.

  38. 38
    Jethro says:

    …. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said

    Of course, neither does anyone else, what with it going kaput a long time ago.

    They really are stupid.

  39. 39
    PeakVT says:

    @magurakurin: I’d settle for some fresh mole (not the furry kind).

    Also, too: fuck you, Arizona reichtards.

  40. 40
    David Koch says:

    it’s laughable how cost conscious corporations who are so tight with the dollar that they keep their ball point pens and staples under lock and key have no problem wasting money on urine tests.

  41. 41
    magurakurin says:

    @PeakVT:

    mmmm. mole oaxaqeno or perhaps your tastes lean more towards Puebla and their mole poblano

    And fuck drug test, too.

  42. 42
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Steve: R-AZ!! Thread winnah heah!!!

  43. 43
    Lockewasright says:

    No way this isn’t a HIPA violation.

  44. 44
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I had to pee in a bottle in 1985 for a routine local government engineering job. Probably for my current private sector job, too, but I don’t recall.

  45. 45
    Person of Choler says:

    Better put more effort into whooping up the War on Women, Doggies on the Roof, and High School Confidential (the Haircut), ’cause your guy is looking pretty sad on the stump:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....ds-newsxml

  46. 46
    catpal says:

    this is just more horrific degrading treatment of women, from Republicans and religious nutjobs.

    I also wondered if This kind of legislative crap will lead to single-payer, because of the Legal challenges this will generate about Employer-provided health insurance.

  47. 47
    JoyfulA says:

    Isn’t Arizona where the polygamous Mormons live? I’m just wondering what sorts of religious tests they might want to impose on employees’ behavior.

  48. 48
    gloryb says:

    RECIPE?@magurakurin:

  49. 49
    Steeplejack says:

    @Person of Choler:

    Thanks for that awesome link from the British equivalent of the National Enquirer. Be sure to let us know when Obama faces off against Bat Boy.

    And somehow Reuters didn’t get the same take-away you did. Apparently the couple in question benefitted from a government-sponsored refi program.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    @efgoldman:

    I try not to feed the trolls, but sometimes something catches me off guard and I can’t help myself.

  51. 51
    Citizen_X says:

    @Person of Choler: Now there’s a winning campaign message: OBAMA SPEAKS TO MIDDLE-CLASS LOSERS.

  52. 52
    kay says:

    I see Democrats are still forcing Republicans to pass laws that target women.

    When will Democrats allow Republicans to get off birth control restrictions and go to job creation?

  53. 53
    burnspbesq says:

    So, let’s recap.

    You’ve once again admitted that everything I said in my comment on your initial post was correct. And I’m the bad guy?

    Get over yourself.

  54. 54
    karen says:

    @trex:

    Don’t forget Jews. The next bill will enable employers to fire people who don’t say “Merry Christmas.” Because only Christians deserve religious freedom.

  55. 55
    Yutsano says:

    @efgoldman: @Steeplejack: Nah. That particular one has lurked about before, and IIRC is more of the extremist PUMA variety.

  56. 56
    Cain says:

    Wow, talking about craptastic. Even more sucky, it was written by a woman and signed into law by a woman. Seriously, does Jan not give a shit about women’s health?

    What is in the water in Arizona?

  57. 57
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Cain: I’ve noticed that this and similar bills in other states are usualy sponsored by female rethuglicans.

  58. 58
    cynn says:

    @Steeplejack: Somebody that doesn’t like me reported me.

  59. 59
    Steeplejack says:

    @cynn:

    What, that you were drinking in the office, or something like that? All this crap is unbelievable. And the (growing) presumption that the workplace is properly a “police state” environment is also unbelievable.

  60. 60
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @efgoldman: The style seemed more like our friend Pravda, w/o VICTORY.

  61. 61
    Citizen_X says:

    @Steeplejack: What on earth do you mean, “police state?” This

    Somebody that doesn’t like me reported me.

    sounds like freedom in freedom sauce.

  62. 62
    catpal says:

    @Cain: well since the AZ taxpayers are the employer of these women – I want to say that AZ should now begin to humiliate these Repub women, but NO I don’t ever want to humiliate women, or anyone.

  63. 63
    BruceJ says:

    @Yutsano: ah, please, they passed a bill demanding that the Federal government hand over all federal property in Arizona to the state. sniffing panties was the least of the batshit they passed this year….the antiabortion bill they passed legally makes women pregnant before the fact.

    I think the governor’s been stung in the head too many times with all those scorpions she’s eating for breakfast.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    The nice thing about working in the entertainment industry is that routinely making employees pee in a cup has never caught on, presumably because you really don’t want to know how your animators came up with a scene like this.

  65. 65
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Get over yourself.

    Physician, heal thyself!

  66. 66
    Ash Can says:

    I was accused of “vagina fauxrage” by some commenters

    Said commenters are part of the problem.

  67. 67
    suzanne says:

    As a teenager in Mesa, I had to piss in a cup to get a part-time job as a cashier at Petsmart.

    I really don’t know how much longer I can take this shit. I’d love to move back to Long Island, but I wouldn’t be able to afford anything better than a hovel. And I am obstinate, so on some level, when I hear this shit, I want to stay and work even harder to elect Democrats and register Latinos to vote.

    But I don’t know how much longer I can raise my daughters here.

  68. 68
    Cain says:

    The next bill is really going to be about how employers control your spiritual life. After all, it’s their money, you should act the way they want you to. Religious freedom and all that. I miean after all, that’s more important what your employer’s religion is.

    I suppose we should trot out that fucked up idea that jews control everything. That would pit wingnut against wingnut. Stupid assholes.

  69. 69

    At the very least. We’re going to have to organize boycotts on a massive scale against businesses which do this. I doubt most business owners wan’t any part of this.

  70. 70
    Provider_UNE says:

    That Brewer no longer has any need for contraception (though you can be sure that she has used it in the past, and likely taken advatage of a health care plan that helped defray the costs), is just one more example of the I got mine, fuck you!, I’ll pull up the ladder behind me (“beware of my stilletto heel” warning to anyone still clinging to same by their fingertips)version of confederate party, pseudo-libertarian authoritude.

    Demonstrating a complete failure to recognise the thousands of backs upon which she was able to stand to get where she is.

    And to think that this bullshit is in service to an ajenda of people that have more money and power than they or their families would ever need for a hundred generations of ideal Catholic or mormanistic growth (think 10 kids a family).

    Most of the Republican leasership knows that they are not gonna be around when the shit hit’s the fan or at least that their way through it will be buffeted by all of the money they have stolen, same for the way of their progeny, though I am beginning to think that many of them have as similar FU attitude toward them (many liberals are formed as the result of conservative upbringing).

    In any event I am pissed, and need to have a spot of tea.

    /grrrrrrrr.
    .

  71. 71
    PaulW says:

    Question: does this affect my ability as a guy to buy condoms? Are condoms covered by medical insurance in the first place?

  72. 72
    Provider_UNE says:

    Pardon my numerous misspellings and whatnot, I was on a sunday morning righteous roll, which was expanded into a post on my own damn blog which lead to an editing process of discovery.

    Oh and hunter gathers, it is always nice to see another V-bro’s fan on the internets. I Go by Brock on another , very local forum.
    .

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I like the new definition of the First Amendment, which is that others can impose their religious beliefs on you if they happen to be of the right religion.

    If an Islamic employer demanded that all his female employees wear veils, the screams of “Shaira Law!” in Arizona could be heard in Uzbekistan. Or UzBECKistan.

  74. 74
    Squiregeek says:

    I believe the perniciousness of this new law is being understated. It will apply (as I read it) to the wives and daughters of the employees as well. Anyone using the health plan is subject to sanction. Simply ghastly.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike in NC:
    How about we just offer to give it back. No charge. Gratis.

    Except. They have to keep it this time.

  76. 76
    rickstershierpa says:

    @cynn: It tends to put one in a sour mood when house prices drop by over 50%. You look for someone to blame. Hispanics, liberals, women having sexytime, etc. Still, one has to wonder if the good burghers and elite of Arizona might be wondering about the Brewerites as they turn their state turned into a Christianist American version of the old South Africa.

  77. 77
    Patricia Kayden says:

    But Repubs are not waging a war against women.

    Vote Brewer and her Repub cohorts out as soon as possible. Why are women in Arizona okay with this?

  78. 78
    feebog says:

    I would trade the whole state for Cabo San Lucas and a fishing village on the gulf to be named later.

  79. 79
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I say give Arizona back to Mexico, let the Los Zetas deal with the wingnuts.

  80. 80
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: Your original comment failed to acknowledge, even when it was pointed out to you in single-syllable words you can comprehend, that while this legislation is working its way through the courts at great length, a lot of women will be screwed by it. But you don’t give a good goddamn about that aspect of things, so you actually think you won the original exchange with ABL.

    As Rafer Janders correctly pointed out at the time, if this were a similarly unconstitutional law that targeted Catholics, they’d hear your high-pitched screaming all the way in Greenland. For once, try to pretend you care about a demographic you’re not in.

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