The Missouri legislature passed a bill on its last day in session, last Friday, which prohibits employers or health insurance providers from being required to include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans. The bill is a direct response to the Obama Administration’s regulation that requires employers to include contraception coverage in their healthcare plans with no copays or deductibles. The legislation in Missouri passed in the Senate with a 28-6 vote and in the House with a 105-33 vote. It now goes to Governor Jay Nixon (D), who has not indicated a position on the legislation.
Missouri State Representative Sandy Crawford defended the bill, saying “this bill is about religious freedom and moral convictions. This is about sending a message to the federal government that we don’t like things rammed down our throat.” However, other representatives said the bill was an attack on women. State representative Stacey Newman said that bill “is wrong and I dare you to go home and talk to your daughters… and say, ‘Look, what we’re going to say is that your employers’ religious beliefs matter more than your own’.”
The bill mirrors a federal rule proposed by US Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) that also attacks the Obama Administration’s regulation. The proposed federal regulation has not progressed in the United States Congress.
ThinkProgress 5/21/12; Care2 5/21/12; Associated Press 5/18/12