Missouri Group Challenges Birth Control Changes
KANSAS CITY — Missouri lawmakers vote to override Governor Nixon’s veto of a bill which expands religious exceptions for insurance coverage of birth control. Within minutes of the vote, The Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women filed a lawsuit asking a Cole County judge to keep the law from going into effect.
The organization says the bill violates state and federal laws and should be struck down. The start of another court battle over contraception came at the end of an emotional day of debate.
“I know that there are many people who may be disappointed in me today, but I’m doing what I feel in my heart is right, and that’s offering women the right to have contraception,” said Rep. Linda Black of Bonne Teerre.
The bill allows employers and insurance companies to refuse coverage for birth control if it violates their religious or moral beliefs.
“Really pleased that the lawmakers did that. They’re really reflecting the values of the people of Missouri and that’s what they’re elected to do,” said Mary Kay Culp, State Executive of Kansas for Life.
In a prepared statement, its president and CEO accuse the Missouri Legislature of seeing “an abortion in every birth control pill” and that a disservice has been done to all Missouri women.
In his veto message, Gov. Jay Nixon pointed out the bill would allow insurance companies not just employers and employees to refuse or opt out of coverage. Something he felt the companies shouldn’t have the right to do. Pro life supporters say the veto set up an unfair intrusion.
“It forces us to act against our will and to spend our money against our will, and if we’re a business owner, forces us to cover things that not only our religions don’t believe in, but we personally don’t believe in,” Culp said.
The Senate voted 20-6 to override. The House vote was much closers with 109 representatives voting to override. That was the exact number needed.