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Ohio Democrats To Propose Bill Mandating Employers Cover Contraceptives

Ohio Democrats To Propose Bill Mandating Employers Cover Contraceptives

July 24, 2014 — Ohio Democrats in the House and Senate plan to introduce a bill that would require small and mid-sized companies in the state to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

According to the Dispatch, the bill comes in response to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling (Siegel, Columbus Dispatch, 7/23). The high court said that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees if the corporations' owners have religious objections to contraception (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/30).

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) said the legislation would prohibit companies from offering coverage that does not include all FDA-approved contraceptives. In addition, the measure would prohibit employers from firing workers based on their use of contraceptives or decision to have an abortion.

According to Clyde, 28 states already have passed similar measures.

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Clyde said, "The steps you take to live your healthiest life shouldn't be anyone else's business but your own," adding that it is "discrimination to deny women this preventive care."

Similarly, state Sen. Charleta Tavares (D), who is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, said that employees should not have to "fear losing their job because of a personal health-care decision they made with their families and doctors."

Meanwhile, Katherine McCann, spokesperson for Ohio Right to Life, said the measure "isn't going to go anywhere in a pro-life legislature." She said the bill is a "political tool that [Democrats are] going to use to cry 'war on women' later in the fall and continue to propagate that myth" (Columbus Dispatch, 7/23).