Ariz. Legislator Continues Fiery Exchanges with Constituents

Posted on April 4, 2012

Blog for Choice, April 3, 2012 by Thomas

Last week, I told you about two Arizona state legislators who could use a class on Manners 101.

State Reps. Terri Proud and Jack Harper wrote some nasty emails to pro-choice constituents who wrote in expressing their opposition to anti-choice bills moving forward in the Arizona legislature.

Now, NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona reports that Rep. Harper is at it again!

Jack W. Harper

Lana Schmitt-Kearney, a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, wrote to Rep. Harper about a bill that would allow bosses and corporations to deny their employees insurance coverage of birth control:

I am a married, 25-year-old, taxpaying citizen of Arizona who works for [a private, secular employer] after graduating from Arizona State in 2009. Please do not forget that as a state representative, you are supposed to represent ALL constituents, not just the ones who think the same way you might. I think it is despicable that H.B.2625 is even being considered- this bill invades the medical privacy of all women, undermines our capacity to make our own autonomous decisions, and thoroughly contradicts the notion that the GOP/right wing wants less government intervention into our lives.If you must know, I use contraception for two reasons: to control the development of crippling, painful ovarian cysts that grow and burst every month when I ovulate, and also to postpone childbearing until my husband and I have both earned our master’s degrees and are financially prepared for children.

Here’s how Rep. Harper responded:

Your employer…has no religious objection to providing contraception. This bill doesn’t affect you. If you worked for the Catholic Church, would you expect them to pay for an abortion for you? No, you wouldn’t. Birth control pills are against the Catholics’ religious beliefs, like abortion. Why would the government make them ignore their beliefs? Did our country’s founders not come here for religious freedom?I hope you are feeling better.

Rep. Harper is as misinformed as he is snippy, so let’s clear up a few things about insurance coverage of birth control:

  1. H.B.2625, the bill making its way through the Arizona legislature would allow any employer in Arizona to deny employees contraception coverage.
  2. Arizona’s contraceptive-equity law already allows churches to opt out of providing birth-control coverage.
  3. This law has been in force for a decade without controversy.

Rep. Harper’s email reminds me of the old kindergarten saying, “If you don’t have anything nice (or true) to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Posted in: Arizona