The House voted 196-150 Wednesday to allow employers to exclude contraceptive coverage from health insurance plans if they have religious objections.
Protesters opposed to House Bill 1546 march at a rally ahead of the House vote on Wednesday to approve the measure, which allows employers to exclude contraceptive coverage from health insurance plans if they have religious objections. (Ted Siefer)
Supporters say House Bill 1546 is needed to preserve the state’s tradition of religious freedom. House Speaker William O’Brien has said the requirement forces some religious organizations to provide contraceptives to employees over their moral objection.
Rep. Daniel Itse, R-Fremont, said offering an exemption to those with religious objections does not disturb the public peace nor interfere with another person’s religious practices, so the state is compelled to protect those rights.
But opponents said the bill places employers between a woman and her doctor and would give religious organizations greater rights than individuals.
Rep. Christopher Serling, D-Portsmouth, noted that because the bill does not include an exemption for Jehovah’s Witnesses for blood transfusions, only for contraceptives, he said, “It is difficult for me to believe this is only about religious liberty.”
Source: New Hampshire Union Leader | State House Bureau