SPRINGFIELD - Yet another advisory referendum could be on the November 2014 ballot - a question that reads: “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?"
The bill, sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed the Illinois Senate and is now proceeding for consideration in the House.
The bill is a plot to divide even further the state of Illinois, the Catholic Conference of Illinois said Thursday.
"The proposed advisory referendum lacks detail and context. It seeks to misinform and exploit, play so-called identity politics and further divide the people of Illinois," the CCI said in a press release. "This effort should be recognized for what it is and rejected."
First, since 2003, Illinois has required the vast majority of health insurance plans operating in the state to cover FDA approved contraceptive drugs for women. Moreover, beginning in 2013, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has required health insurance plans nationwide to provide contraceptives, the morning-after pill and sterilizations without cost. The only exceptions to the combined effect of these mandates have been health insurance plans provided by religious organizations who object to paying for contraceptives, abortifacients or sterilizations, the groups said.
"In fact, the constitutional questions of whether corporations owned by religious objectors or religiously-sponsored organizations (such as Catholic hospitals) are exempt from the ACA mandate due to its infringement on their First Amendment rights are before the United States Supreme Court," CCI said.
"The Court’s first decision in this area is expected in June, and no advisory referendum in Illinois has any power to influence or modify its ruling."
The Senate roll call: