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Senate panel OKs birth control question for ballot

SPRINGFIELD — A Senate committee has approved a November ballot question asking if Illinois voters think prescription drug coverage plans should include birth control.

Illinois already requires insurance providers that cover prescription drugs to also cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs for women. Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago, sponsored that legislation, which became law in 2003. She told Senate Executive Committee members Wednesday that the goal of the ballot question is to make the argument stronger in light of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, calls it “utterly meaningless” and accused Martinez of election-year politics.

“You guys have trotted out every wedge issue you could find,” Murphy said to the Senate’s ruling Democrats during floor debate.