Updated: Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 4:40 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 4:40 PM EDT
CONCORD, N.H. - Critics say a bill to allow any New Hampshire employers with religious objections to exclude contraceptive coverage in health plans for their female employees discriminates against women.
They told the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee on Tuesday the bill would not treat erectile dysfunction drugs for men the same.
But supporters said the House-passed bill championed by Republican House Speaker William O'Brien is a matter of religious freedom and not a war against women.
O'Brien, who is Catholic, began championing the exemption after the federal government issued a rule requiring health insurance companies to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations.
The 12-year-old law O'Brien proposes to change only requires coverage of contraceptives if other drugs also are covered. Employers also can avoid state mandates altogether by self-insuring.