GOP lawmaker introduces bill protecting women's access to contraception

Hoorah for Senator Nancy Detert! I've always liked Nancy Detert, I think she tells it like it is and thinks for herself. Today the Florida Independent released a story about one more reason why we should like Senator Nancy Detert. See the story below.


GOP lawmaker introduces bill protecting women’s access to contraception

By  | 12.02.11 | 9:22 am

State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has introduced a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would protect a woman’s access to birth control in Florida, stopping any insurance provider from levying steep co-payments for contraception or creating any waiting periods for services.

According to the bill summary, Senate Bill 598would require that “health insurers and health maintenance organizations provide health insurance coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices.”

The bill would also prohibit insurance companies from “imposing an unusual copayment, coinsurance requirement, deductible, or waiting requirement for obtaining prescription contraceptive drugs or devices or certain outpatient contraceptive services.”

The bill provides a standard exemption for religious employers — much like the exemption in the U.S. Health and Human Services’ decision to require insurers to cover contraception as a preventative service. However, Detert’s bill does not provide an exemption to religious providers as broad as those sought by Catholic groups, which typically allow any religious or moral objector to opt out of a requirement. Last session, a Catholic group was successful in convincing the state Legislature to add a broad exemption condemned by women’s health advocates in the state’s Medicaid reform bill.

According to Detert’s bill, “a religious employer may request, and an accident or health insurance policy subject to this section must grant, an exclusion from coverage under the policy for the coverage required under subsection (2) if the required coverage conflicts with the religious organization’s bona fide religious beliefs and practices” and a “religious employer that obtains an exclusion under this subsection shall provide its employees reasonable and timely notice of the exclusion.”

Last session, Republicans introduced a slew of bills crafted to limit access to legal abortions in the state. Four bills and one amendment aimed at curbing reproductive rights eventually passed.

Detert was among a handful of GOPers that spoke out against some of those anti-abortion bills, standing her ground alongside colleagues such as state Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ocala.

Lynn gave an impassioned speech last session that earned her an ACLU of Florida “Defender of Freedom” award. During the state Senate’s passage of the mandatory ultrasound bill, Lynn told her colleagues she would continue to not vote for a single abortion bill because it “is not the issue that is the most important issue in this state.”

Detert spoke out against the same bill.

Now Detert tells The Florida Independent she wants to tackle the pervasive sexism in the way health insurance companies cover prescriptions.

“If we are going to pay for a man’s Viagra,” she says, “we should also pay for contraception. This is about equity — not ideology.”

Detert says it has “always bewildered” her that there are not laws that protect a woman’s access to contraception.

Read the rest at the Florida Independent


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