In today's "A Handmaid's Tale" News, OK Legislature promotes women as breeding stock… [View all]
Abortion and contraception coverage opt-out bill heads to Oklahoma Senate
By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Published: 2/22/2013 1:50 AM
Last Modified: 2/22/2013 7:32 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Employers in Oklahoma could opt not to include contraceptives and abortions in employee insurance plans under a measure that secured passage by a Senate committee Thursday.
The measure, Senate Bill 452 by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee by a vote of 9-0 with no debate and now heads to the full Senate.
"Notwithstanding any other provision of state or federal law, no employer shall be required to provide or pay for any benefit or service related to abortion or contraception through the provision of health insurance to his or her employees," the bill says.
Under the federal Affordable Health Care Act, employee group insurance plans are required to cover contraception unless the business offering the benefit meets the conditions of being a religious organization, said Mike Rhoades, Oklahoma Insurance Department deputy commissioner of life and health insurance.
Jolley said the measure is the result of a request from a constituent, Dr. Dominic Pedulla, an Oklahoma City cardiologist who describes himself as a natural family planning medical consultant and women's health researcher.
Pedulla says he is morally against contraception and abortion. He said he had to give up his small group health plan because the only plans available in the state required coverage for contraception and sterilization. He and his family were on the plan and had to find more expensive insurance elsewhere.
"Every small group plan forces you to choose those options," Pedulla said.
Women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla said.
"Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother," Pedulla said. "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."