The Arizona Senate passed HB 2625 today by a 17-13 vote, after members and the bill’s sponsor, Representative Debbie Lesko, agreed to amend the bill in a conference committee. HB 2625 protects religious employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs and provide insurance coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
Under the proposed conference committee amendment, the religious exemption in Arizona will be expanded to include only organizations that have a religious mission in their articles of incorporation and that operate according to their religious principles. Essentially this means that, if passed, both churches and religious organizations, such as charities and other parachurch ministries, would be exempt from the government mandate.
Despite what Planned Parenthood and the bills’ opponents say, the impact of HB 2625 is not unfounded or rare. In fact, a majority of states will have less restrictive mandates than Arizona would under the bill. The graph below illustrates the impact of HB 2625:
The bill was passed with the agreement that the amendments will be added in conference committee early next week.
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