News Contraception

Missouri Legislature Overrides Nixon Veto of Birth Control Refusal Rights

Robin Marty

Both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly that employers and insurers should have the right to deny women contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans.

Despite a rare veto by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, insurers and employers have been told by the Missouri state legislature that they can choose not to cover birth control if they feel that it is morally objectionable.

The House voted 109-4 and the Senate voted 26-6 to allow employers and, more importantly, insurance companies themselves, the right to refuse to cover birth control, emergency contraception or sterilization, by claiming religious or moral objections.  The law would be a direct violation of the Obama administration’s mandate that all health insurance plans offer these services with no co-pay for those who are covered by the policies.

“Critics argued that the bill will put Missouri insurance companies on a collision course with lawsuits by forcing them to choose between violating state or federal law,” reports the Kansas City Star.  “But more importantly, they contend, it could limit a woman’s access to birth control.”

More and more companies are continuing to argue that their religious freedoms are being violated by the contraception mandate, with the latest being Oklahoma crafting chain Hobby Lobby, who today filed lawsuit against the administration. “By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, said in a statement. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”

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The suit claims it is being forced to cover “abortion-inducing drugs,” falsely parroting the religious right’s claim that birth control and emergency contraception are abortifacients that inhibit a fertilized egg’s ability to implant in the uterus.

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