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home : opinion : columns April 30, 2016

3/16/2012 6:01:00 AM
Satire missing from Lesko's law

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

You've got to hand it to Debbie Lesko. The sassy Glendale Republican representative decided to put her party in its place and introduce a satirical bill that would, get this, make it possible for employers to inquire about a female employee's use of the Pill. Becasue Arizona is an "at-will" employment state, meaning an employee can be fired without cause, any employer who disagreed with their employee's use of birth control for non-medical reasons could fire that employee.

In other words, a boss that likes to throw their moral superiority around can actually fire a woman for wanting to engage in sexual intercourse - off the clock, of course - and not want to have a baby as a result each and every time.

What a creative way to call out members of her fellow party, who seem to not only want to regulate what goes into your body, but also what comes out.

Except Lesko isn't kidding. And she actually made the following statement when explaining her reasoning behind HB 2625.

"We don't live in the Soviet Union," she said. "So, government should not be telling organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs."

No, Debbie just thinks that an employer should be able to dictate what goes on in their employees personal lives, which, when you think about it, is par for the course with the GOP, who seem to have put their interest in what goes on in the bedrooms of homosexuals on the back burner in favor of what they swear up and down is not a war on women.

And apparently, the distressed damsels of the Republican Party are totally willing to turn their reproductive health over to what one Internet meme described as "The Masters of the Uterus." That would refer to the all-male panel assembled to testify in Washington on President Barack Obama's mandate that insurers (not taxpayers as conservatives keep saying) fully cover birth control for women.

Never mind that 98 percent of Catholic women of child-bearing age (and consequently the men who sleep with them) don't even follow the church's edict governing the use - or non-use, I should say - of contraception.

If it was good enough for the earliest of Israelites, it's certainly good enough for our unwashed masses today.

As a lapsed Catholic - and one I might add, who spent the prime of her preteen years getting up at 5 a.m. to serve as one of the first altar girls of her suburban St. Louis church - I certainly respect the church's right to its beliefs, even if none of its actual members practice what the church is preaching. But what works for religions doesn't always work for public policy. That's why Muslims can't stop someone else's restaurant from serving pork or Mormons can't keep people from drinking coffee. Public policy has to be in the best interest of the greater good no matter who that may offend.

In this case, Obama's attempt to micro-manage insurance company policies by mandating that they fully cover the costs of birth control was misguided at best and probably nothing more than an election year ploy to gain the female vote. But it does kind of make sense, seeing as how covering the cost of the Pill is far less than covering prenatal costs. And the fact that coverage of Viagra doesn't cause the same uproar. Or that the co-pay on many prescriptions costs far more than the $10 people keep throwing around.

But some people's moral superiority seemed to get the best of them and all of a sudden, we're back in high school scrawling "slut" and "tramp" on the bathroom wall.

I can think of a far worse name. Hypocrite. The married Lesko has three children, far less than you'd expect a woman who is not using birth control to have, unless she and her husband abstain from recreational sex, which I highly doubt.

And since she's an Arizona representative, which by its very name means she represents and works for us, and that makes me one of her bosses, I'm gonna have to go ahead and ask you, Deb, to open up your medical files and let us see how you've managed to keep your womb unaffected by those sacred sperm for so long. Certainly what's good for your constituents is good for you guys in Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

So, let us in on your sex life, Debbie, since you seem so desperately interested in ours. And if it turns out that you, unlike the majority of Catholics, are practicing what you preach, then by all means, you have my apologies.

Otherwise, you can join the rest of us sluts in the unemployment line.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ Anson's Nephew

I can't agree to apples and oranges. They are both insurance. Consider that if employers offering health insurance were eliminated, the health insurance companies would need to start a multi-billion dollar advertising campaign to bring back those revenues.

It would be rough going for a few years till things settled out, but I'd be willing to bet you'd see numerous groups forming to negotiate for their own health insurance. Religious groups could find insurance that didn't violate their sometimes absurd principles. Social groups would also press to force insurance companies to provide them with coverage they wanted.

Then there is nothing prohibiting the government from also offering health insurance to anyone who cares to participate. I really think it would work out well, and as a side benefit, when looking for a job, the matter of health insurance wouldn't come into the picture at all. We'd all be free to look for a job that we wanted rather than one that offers the best health insurance. In a nutshell, people power is finally reaching its full potential, thanks to the Internet.

Re: Paul Ryan. I agree.


Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

@ DL

Apples and oranges my friend – car insurance vs health insurance. BTW I had AARP Hartford and food it was cheaper to go to GEICO. As to “banding” together, I pointed out an example I personally know of and they could not get a group policy. A small business owner I know also could not a group policy because one of her employees had asthma, another was in remission from lung cancer and a third had a husband who had been severely injured in a car accident fives years ago. Total of employees was eight with 6 families that would have been covered – but EVERY single insurance company cried “pre-existing conditions” and refused to cover the group. That is just one of the myriad reasons that the Patients Protection and Affordable Health Care act is needed – no more insurance company crap about “pre-existing conditions.”

This also the problem with the Paul Ryan plan (am I the only one who thinks the guy looks like a sleazy car salesman from the 1950s?) that would throw seniors onto the open market for health care with a $10 voucher, a kiss behind the ear and a “Good luck with that!” thrown in.

w/c 201

Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012
Article comment by: nnp nnp

Certain women are crying about getting insurance to cover the birth control pills so they don't have to pay for it themselves. They want us, people who pay for insurance, to pay for their birth control pills.

This is an easy problem to solve. If women want to have sex, and not get pregnant women need to PAY for their own "birth control pills". End of story.

If you use birth control for some other reason or a manufactured reason get the reason stated by your doctor and submit it with your RX when you turn it into the insurance company.

Men don't get RX's for condoms.

The writer needs to explain to the public why a woman using birth control pills for birth control should get it covered by the INSURANCE companies.

Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ Anson's Nephew

I don't think that's correct. As an example, let me cite the organization a lot of people decry for its politics, the AARP (American Association of Retired People). It’s a completely voluntary membership of more than 40 million seniors that, aside from its politics, offers numerous financial benefits to its members.

Insurance, for one. In 2008 AARP received $652 millon in royalties from companies that insure AARP members. ITT Hartford is one. That's who insures my car. My rates, for the legal minimum, are $180 a year. I don't even get telemarketed by insurance companies because they know they can't beat AARP rates, so they don't bother to call. It's estimated some 25 million AARP members are insured through Hartford. With a customer base that large, AARP negotiates very handsome rates for it's members and at the same time offers ITT Hartford a low risk for high profit.

People can and do work together to accomplish ends which benefits each of them. Cooperation. It may not seem like it now, but thinking back on the impossible projects we've tackled and accomplished just in the last hundred years, it's easy to see people can and do work together very well. I think it's one of the better things we do.

I could even negotiate for myself. With a AAA record in the things that matter to insurance companies I shop around for the best rate. And would take home a much larger paycheck because I wouldn’t have to pay for health insurance my employer chooses.

People assemble into large groups on the Internet and bring pressure to bear every day. We’ve seen it work many times in the last decade. When we can communicate instantly we’re empowered. A huge power we are just beginning to realize.


Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Sorry DL, but you are wrong. You posted, “There's nothing to prevent people from grouping together on their own to negotiate insurance coverage and premiums. Yes, there is and the problem is insurance companies. My doctor with a small staff grouped together other doctors in his medical center and could not find a single insurance company that would accept them as a “group.” So what chance to do think a bunch of working stiffs would have?

As to employers. I worked for a really scummy company for 25 years and yet even as bad as they were, we had excellent health insurance coverage – because it ran all the way from the CEO’s to the line-men.

w/c .

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Article comment by: James Chilton

As our former editor would have put it: "noice!"

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Article comment by: Donna W.

Erin, I appreciate you taking on this ridiculous bill and calling the author of it out in public. This bill's only possible result will be the expulsion of women from the workplace so that we are all forced to rely on men to feed, clothe and house us!

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ I See It Now

No, I don't think so. There's nothing to prevent people from grouping together on their own to negotiate insurance coverage and premiums. Other alternatives are also possible, such as civic groups offering membership for group policies. Consider AARP (regardless their political views): Almost 25 million have joined together under that banner to negotiate with Hartford insurance for the cheapest auto insurance in the nation. There are numerous alternatives that are far better than tying health insurance to one's employment.

Employers providing health insurance, to me, is the most egregious form of insurance. Our employment opportunities are far too important to tie them to the type of health insurance we have. It gives employers too much power, not to mention the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing employers may or may not be doing with the insurance companies.


Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Article comment by: I See It Now

@ D L
Doesn't it make the affordability even more difficult if employees are to buy their own insurance? I understand that insurance rates are generally cheaper for large employers who buy insurance for a multitude of employees. Once the employees have to buy insurance on their own, they lose the bulk discount advantage. What is your plan for that?

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

An even better solution I've been encouraging for years to no avail.

Take insurance out of the workplace entirely. Let the employer pay workers higher and let workers (from the back dock worker to the CEO) buy their own health insurance from either private enterprise or the government.

All problems solved.


Posted: Monday, March 19, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Santorum, the right man for America 1952.
Romney, the right man for America: 1982.
Paul, the right man for America: 1822.
Gingrich, the right...... wow I can't do that one!

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: Hiram Fong

Republicans want to get the government off our backs. Except for legislating their Taliban version of morality. We don't need Arpaio and Doris G. guarding the border against terrorists. They are already here in the one party dictatorship in the Arizona House and Senate. The worst legislature in history, no check, no balance just insanity next to normalacy. Just hatred for workers, hatred for women, hatred for gays, hatred for Hispanics.

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: Independent Thinker

I am a huge defender of privacy, but I am also a defender of employer's rights to pay wages to employees that fit in with their mindset. I just don't get what the problem is. Why can't birth control measures just be privately paid for by the individuals needing them outside of insurance?

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ Ahron Sherman

RE: "In fact, the Miner has one of the most diverse staffs (all departments) that I've seen since moving here."

Uh, I'm not sure whether you've noticed or not, but this is the ONLY daily paper in town that allegedly addresses itself to the general community. So your statement is ambiguous at best and disingenuous at worst.

RE: "... we all respect each other's rights to say what we think."

Once again the above applies. If you think this paper respects such rights, you should start counting the number of comments and Letters from the liberal side of this community which are censored, deleted or placed so they hardly get read.

My opinion of you is starting to change, but I guess you either have to roll over for the radical right wing editor and publisher or move on like the last editor and couple of reporters have done.


Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: paradise lost

Brace yourselves Democrats, this is one area where I totally disagree with my party. Yes, it would have devasting effects on women, as well as their male partners who wish to postpone having children or who have decided not have children at all. It would also have the effect of placing employers in the mighty position of judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to morals and/or religion when it comes to their women employees. Through my years in the work force, I have worked for employers who were very much biased against women because of their religious beliefs. I needed work, so I endured it the best I could.

I can only hope that this bill is voted down, or at the very least, vetoed by Brewer. This is a terrible bill and is not the way to solve the problems we face with health care.

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Robinson

WOW!! Where do I begin? Perhaps I should inform Ms Erin Taylor about the not so subtle nuances of legislating (also known as lawmaking for young aspiring propagandists indoctrinated by pseudo-intellectual professors who are intolerant of contrary values and principles) here in Arizona.
1. Strikethrough Legislation is where the bills have been erased and they are starting over wiht simply the shell of HB2625. Perhaps Ms Lesko, along with others sponsored the new legislation or just as likely they were the sponsors of the old bill.
2. The revisions proposed to 20-826 simply allows for employers to have the option not to provide certain coverages (such as contraceptives), based on their religious principles I guess you are opposed to choice and freedom of conscience when your goal is to MANDATE what others must do with their own companies
3. NO WHERE does this bill mention the ability of the employer to fire an employee who wants to use contraceptives! I know because I read EVERY section of the ARS that was changed in the law by this bill.

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: You GO GIRL!

"Otherwise, you can join the rest of us sluts in the unemployment line." LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it Erin.

It all comes down to the old addage of the more woman a man "does" makes him a STUD but a woman who is sexually active (God forbid she enjoys it) needs permission from the elected male or boss to have sex and/or contreception. Of course he would gladley do you in the office supply closet!

Join together woman and lets get rid of ANY of these candidates who believe a woman is their doormat.........................including ANY woman that is running and believes in this ANTI-woman legislation. We are the voting base and we can take this election over and put the righ woman in the right seat!

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Lets see once upon a time if one did a immoral act, the were given a scarlet letter to wear, once upon a time women went to illegal abortionist's died horrible deaths, once upon a time folks whom disagreed with the Pope or Church of England on the protestant side of the religious divide you were tortured first into confessing your guilt then burned at the stake as a heretic, these looney tunes did not disappear they merely lost power, guess they believe they can regain power via deception, hiding amongst the moral majority party and think no one will spot them!

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Same Old Thing

@ Ahron:
If you don't think the Miner is a right-wing, we-hate-all-who-aren't-white-men media outlet, you aren't reading your own paper.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Wendy Pendleton

This is an excellent article about this horrific bill. We should all weep for the women of Arizona. We've fought long and hard to vote, break dress codes, gain control of our lives, and are still trying to gain equal pay. Mysogyny and ignorance are running rampant throughout our country, but it's especially horrific when brought on by one of our own gender! What has happened to sanity?! Obviously this bill won't stand, if for no other reason than HIPAA. But what a sad commentary on the state of our society!

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: @Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking:

Huh? Wow. Talk about a lost cause.

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Article comment by: michelle star

The pending hypocritical Arizona Lesko law makes absolutely no sense. Ms. Lesko wants to invade and violate working women's rights by having an employer ask sexual privacy questions and depending on the answers may hinder her employment. Does the boss who's religion says no to contraceptive pills, insure or retain the female employee that's using prescribed contraception medication for a medical condition and just happens to be sexually active too?

It's also hypocritical that the Republican does not want government mandated health insurance but has no problem mandating that a women will be forced to pay for an unnecessary ultrasound procedure before seeking an abortion. This procedure has nothing to do with contributing to a women's health or welfare. One male state Governor indicates you can even close your eyes. Another male Governor gives the women a choice she can pay for, vaginal probe or external ultrasound. WOW Mister Male Governor lucky me!
What else is the Republican medicine man going to force a women to medically do? So much for limited and less intrusion from our Republican party leaders.

These are all attempts by the male Republican pig party to take this country back to the Neanderthal days where women had no rights. When do we stop voting ladies? The Republican male and a few brainwashed females want to keep you in your cave, in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Better known as Republican Family Values.

Why is the Republican party waging war on women? You won't get my feminine vote Fred Flintstone.

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Article comment by: Ahron Sherman

To Same old thing,
Your idea of the Miner couldn't be more further from the truth. In fact, the Miner has one of the most diverse staffs (all departments) that I've seen since moving here. We may disagree with each other's opinions within the news room, but we all respect each other's rights to say what we think.

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Article comment by: R. Christine Durgin

Hello Erin,

I could not have said it better ! Thank you for writing this article and saying what many of us are thinking. I did call all the AZ Senators to let them know how I feel about HB 2625. Maybe you could list all the AZ Senators & their tel numbers for the public to call if they wish. Women really need to pay attention and make their voices heard this year.
Christine Durgin

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Kane

@ Frank Lee Speaking

You chastise Erin for insulting non-liberals, one breath after you call all liberals perpetual freeloaders. Just listen to yourself.
I'm a free-thinker, not a freeloader, and I'm more liberal than not. I'm 50, and have worked hard all my life. As the plumber said to his assistant while working in the basement - "Pipe down!"

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