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Republican lawmakers in a handful of states are opening another front in the war against President Obama's health care overhaul, seizing on the hot-button issue of birth control with bills that would allow insurance companies to ignore new federal rules requiring them to cover contraception.
Measures introduced recently in Idaho, Missouri and Arizona would go beyond religious nonprofits and expand exemptions to secular insurers or businesses that object to covering contraception, abortion and sterilization.
"In its present state, the health care bill is an affront to my religious freedoms," said Idaho Republican Rep. Carlos Bilbao, who is sponsoring the bill.
The ACLU counters, saying such bills discriminate against women.
The bills echo a separate proposal in Congress sponsored by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, allowing insurance plans to opt out of the requirement on contraception coverage if they have moral objections