BOISE — A proposed bill that would require Idaho insurers to provide patrons with a 12-month supply of contraceptives died in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Monday afternoon.
The proposed bill was originally introduced by Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, last year, where it failed in committee. Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, represented her at the Monday meeting.
Senators were against moving the proposed bill forward because it was the same bill that failed last year. Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d'Alene, said she would feel more comfortable adjusting the proposal to require insurers provide a six-month supply instead of a year and indicated that legislators made a similar request last year. Many Idaho insurers provide a one-month or three-month limit on contraceptives.
Sen. Regina Bayer, R-Meridian, expressed concern about the broad language of the proposal and was concerned that it would allow women access to abortifacients that are technically called contraceptives. Jordan said the language in the proposal indicates that the contraceptives would specifically be those that prevent pregnancies, not end them.
Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow, supported the proposal, and said he'd received hundreds of emails in support of it, many from University of Idaho students. Jordan said the proposal would be helpful in reducing unwanted pregnancies, based on results from other states that have passed similar bills.
"I know how seriously women take their health care," Jordan said. "I don't think we can view this as something separate from other health care issues that women deal with."