Secular AZ Testimony on SB 1318: Prohibiting Abortion Coverage on Health Exchange

Good afternoon, Madame Chair and members of the Committee,
For the record my name is Tory Anderson, and I am here speaking on behalf of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.   For those of you not familiar with our organization, we represent a statewide constituency base of theists and nontheists who value the separation of church and state. 

I am here today, on behalf of my constituency, in opposition to SB 1318, and to ask you to vote “NO” on this bill.

There are complicated moral and ethical questions involved in women’s health issues and access to health care for theists and nontheists alike. However, the particular influence of sectarian religious belief on government policy regarding women suggests a government endorsement of particular religious beliefs to the exclusion of minority and non-theist views.

In the landmark case Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, including her decision to have an abortion.

In a pluralistic society valuing religious and moral freedom, health care should not be dictated or compromised by personal, sectarian religious beliefs.   This bill is part of a nationwide effort to limit women’s access to abortion based on these personal beliefs.   The decision to have an abortion is a personal and private decision that should be left between a woman and her doctor. 

We encourage the Arizona State Legislature to stop focusing on bedroom bills and instead focus on what really matters to Arizonans: building a strong economy and a vibrant education system.

Laws and regulations of women’s healthcare should be based on scientifically sound medical research and driven by a compelling government interest, not sectarian religious beliefs.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this bill.  At this time I am available to answer your questions.

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