Missouri Employers Can Now Opt-Out Of Birth Control

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (KTVI) - Missouri lawmakers again countermanded an Obamacare mandate to insurance companies to provide free contraception.  Lawmakers Wednesday overrode Governor Jay Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 749.

The Governor said the bill will become law in thirty days and the state will enforce it.  The Governor had objected to the measure on several grounds including his belief it moved decisions about birth control from a woman and her family to insurance firms.  "It's a shame we're still debating access to birth control in 2012," Nixon said after the Republican controlled House and Senate found the two-thirds majorities needed to override.

State Senator John Lamping (R) Ladue, the bill's sponsor, said his measure will protect religious beliefs and moral convictions in areas of health care.  

Supporters of the federal mandate for free contraception opposed SB 749.

"We believe that all women, no matter where they work deserve the same access to birth control," said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano.  She added, “Their boss should not be able to tell them what health care services they deserve."

Lamping insisted access to birth control will not change.  "What proponents of those types of services ..people who are against this bill ...they just want somebody else to pay for those things.  That's what they are actually mandating," he said.

The senator warned firms could simply opt out of providing any health care because of the government mandates.  Organizations that have objected to the federal order include religious based charities, health care organizations and hospitals as well as the Catholic Church.

The Missouri law could put companies providing health care plans and insurance firms in the middle of a legal battle over whether a state law or a federal mandate takes precedence.

Missouri Senator Jolie Justus (D) Kansas City said during Senate debate called the measure a "cheap political trick that restates current law" and will force the state to spend taxpayer dollars to defend the new statute.

As of late Wednesday afternoon the Kansas City Labor Coalition of Union Women announced plans to seek a court injunction to stop implementation of the new law.

To read the legislation, click here.  

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