Montana guarantees birth control access

According to the Billings Gazette, it looks like the attorney general of Montana has issued an opinion stating that all health insurance providers must provide coverage for birth control, and a failure to do so constitutes sex discrimination.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana said it is still working through the opinion issued by Attorney General Mike McGrath that will force prescription policies to include coverage for birth control pills and other contraceptives.

Although any number of insurance companies could decide to challenge McGrath's opinion and ask a court to overturn it, Blue Cross is considered the most influential.

"We do not think there will be an appeal," said Tanya Ask, Blue Cross vice president of government affairs. "We do not plan to appeal."


McGrath's opinion on the issue was sought by state Senate President Jon Tester, now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. The attorney general said Montana's "unisex" insurance law forbids any discrimination based on gender in insurance policies.

From a quick glance, Montana seems like one of those Red States -- 59% of its citizens voted for Bush in 2004 -- that coastal progressives don't have a lot of stake in. But a recent RadioNation with Laura Flanders show shed some much-needed light on the state's very active progressive contingents, especially in the arena of promoting women's issues not just as a feminist agenda, but as a big part of their larger progressive agenda. Any Montana readers want to weigh in? (Thanks to for the heads up.)

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