Posted on March 16, 2012 at 6:38 AM
Friday, Mar 16 at 7:00 AM
PHOENIX -- Once again Arizona finds itself in the national spotlight with the president of Planned Parenthood in the state Thursday. She says some politicians here in Arizona, as well as nationwide, pose a real threat to women's health.
“I think the real concern is we see candidates putting politics above women's health care needs,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, referring to Mitt Romney's statement made earlier this week.
“Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that,” Romney said.
Romney’s campaign has since clarified he doesn't want to get rid of Planned Parenthood, just its federal funding. But Richards says that could have devastating effects on the family-planning program and women's health care
“It was a program actually signed into law by Richard Nixon and it has had bi-partisan support for decades,” Richards explained. “I think the danger here is not so much to Planned Parenthood but to the 5 million women who rely on getting affordable care at Planned Parenthood or a family-planning clinic.”
Planned Parenthood is no stranger to criticism but this political season it's not only Planned Parenthood but birth control that has also come under attack.
“I think what they are forgetting is majority of voters in November are going to be women and for women, birth control is basic healthcare,” Richards said.
But that's what the Arizona state legislature is debating, with House Bill 2625, which would allow any employer to deny coverage for contraception based on religious reasons.
“This isn't really about women's rights this is a larger issue the First Amendment of the United States constitution; it's freedom of religion,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko of Glendale.
The bill says if the birth control were to be used for something other than sex, employees could always ask their boss for permission.
“It's an extraordinary over-reach to think that the government is going to get between women and their health care,” Richards said.
House Bill 2625 here in Arizona has already passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee.