The birth control debate has now made its way into the Montana Legislature. Predictably, the GOP is now trying to deny it to women. An interim committee of the Montana legislature is trying to deny birth control to women who are state employees.
The 2011 Montana Legislature saw a record number of anti-women bills, globally. Now the target de jour seems to be female state employees.
Under current law, the decisions about what benefits state employees should receive under their insurance plans are made by an advisory committee of employees, unions, lawmakers, and health benefits experts hired by the state. In this video, you can hear the committee staffer assuring the legislators that yes, this would give them the authority to remove:
“contraception other things that could be very controversial..like..I don’t know, health and wellness for women.”
Sen. Lewis explained the bill was perfectly appropriate because “there’s discussions of women’s health and those things” in the legislature related to Medicaid.
Here’s the video:
The bill passed out of interim committee, and will be up for consideration in the 2013 legislature. The current bill draft number is LCsa03.
The bill draft was supported by Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge), Ron Arthun (R-Wilsall), Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls), and (shockingly)Larry Jent (D-Bozeman). Democrats Kathy Swanson, Bryce Bennett, and Kendall Van Dyk all voted no.
Had Jent not voted with the Republicans, the measure would have died. Since Jent lost the primary against Steve Bullock, he seems to be making going off-shift somewhat of a habit. Earlier this week, he appeared in a radio ad admitting that his support for an unpopular bill that gutted the voter-passed Montana Marijuana Act was intended to repeal the will of the voters.