House Committee Votes 7-3 to Hold Birth Control Bill

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The sponsor of HB 530, which would allow Idaho insurance carriers and employers to restrict coverage for contraception, sterilization or abortion-inducing drugs, told members of the House Health and Welfare Committee Monday afternoon that the Affordable Care Act prompted his proposed measure.

"I say to you and the federal government, don't ask me to pay for your abortions and your contraceptives," said Bilbao. "If Idaho is going to have its own insurance exchange bill, I want it in clear letters that I don't have to pay for somebody else's abortions or birth control pills."

But Lewiston Rep. John Rusche, a physician, opposed the motion.

"It puts the employer in the position of forcing his values and morals on his workers and their families," said Rusche.

Republican Rep. Fred Wood of Burley, another physician, agreed with Rusche's opposition.

"This is preempted by federal law and rule," said Wood. "We would end up spending Idaho's hard-earned dollars to challenge this in court. Additionally, contraceptives are used in a lot of treatments that have absolutely nothing to do with contraception."

Ultimately, the committee voted 7-3 to hold the bill and perhaps revisit the issue with revised changes.

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