The New York State Assembly is expected to pass a women’s health bill later today, but the Republican-led State Senate and Governor George Pataki will back the Senate’s version of the bill, passed last week, which includes a “conscience clause” that would strip the bill of an important measure. The Women’s Health and Wellness Act, as voted on in the Assembly, would require insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives and annual breast cancer screenings for women over 40. The Senate version of the bill would mandate breast cancer screening for women over 50, and would include an exception to the contraceptive coverage clause for religious institutions. An estimated 200,000 women are employed by Catholic institutions in New York. Last year, Republicans in the Senate rejected the women’s health measure, calling for further study, but speedily passed a mean’s health measure on the last day of the legislative session that required insurance companies to cover prostate cancer screening.