Eye On Boise

House backs Bilbao memorial on contraceptive coverage, 53-15

The Idaho House has voted 53-15 in favor of HJM 10, Rep. Carlos Bilabo's non-binding memorial to Congress backing legislation to allow employers to exclude contraceptive coverage from the health coverage they offer their employees. "If you want to go and lend yourselves to buying birth control or contraceptions or whatever, that's your right, you go do it," Bilbao told the House. "Just don't make me pay for it. And that's what this resolution is about. Don't make people pay for something they don't believe in."

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, who spoke against the measure, said she might not support a war, but that doesn't give her the right to withhold her federal taxes. Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, said, "Religious liberty does not come with the right to impose one's faith on others. The contraceptive coverage provision serves the nation's interest in gender equality ... and religious freedom by making contraception accessible, affordable, and therefore allowing women using their own conscience to choose for themselves whether, when, and how to use birth control."

Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, a supporter of the measure, told the House, "I believe that women have the right to go out now and get the contraceptives that they need from free clinics and things like that, so why do employers have to provide it?" All House Democrats opposed the measure; all House Republicans supported it except Reps. Leon Smith of Twin Falls and Tom Trail of Moscow. The memorial now moves to the Senate side.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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