Birth-Control Debate Will Resume Monday in House Committee

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Because an Idaho Legislative committee didn't properly post its Thursday agenda online, testimony will continue on Monday, Feb. 20, on a controversial bill that would impose restrictions on insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Emmett Republican Rep. Carlos Bilbao stood before House Health and Welfare Committee Thursday, asking lawmakers to exempt Idaho insurers from a federal requirement to provide coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. The Affordable Car Act mandates such coverage, but Bilbao said he wants employers and carriers to "opt out" when it comes to birth control."

"It's an attack on my rights of conscience," said Bilbao.

Lewiston Democratic Rep. John Rusche, a physician, challenged the proposal.

"Doesn't [your bill] violate the employee's right to have that service available?"

But Committee Chairwoman Rep. Janice McGeachin, an Idaho Falls Republican, said that the measure would have to be taken up again on Monday because the the agenda hadn't been properly posted in advance. A vote on the controversial bill is expected following testimony.

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