Birth Control Proposal Leads to Heated Debate in Missouri Senate

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A bill introduced  in the Missouri State Senate aims to allow employers to deny health insurance coverage for birth control, abortions, and sterilization.  It  comes after the Obama administration's proposal to require religious employers to provide free coverage of birth control even if it is contrary to their doctrine.  The Missouri  proposal will allow any employer to deny coverage of birth control treatments.

"I want to have a conversation today about the access to birth control and why it's under attack in the United States right now.  It makes no sense to me whatsoever," Sen. Jolie Justus, D- Kansas City said.

Sen. Jolie Justus of Kansas City is opposed to the legislation, and she asked for an amendment to at least exclude contraception from the list of what employers can refuse to cover, but supporters say they shouldn't have to make that compromise.

"It just seems wrong as an employer, I give up my first amendment rights to decide what I pay for and what I don't pay for," said Sen. Bill Stouffer, R- Napton.

Some like Jennifer Knecht say it's not an employer's choice, it's an individual's choice.

"It's kind of a personal thing, so that's not really any of their business," Knecht said.

Eric Diamond agrees.

"It's not the employers job to say what is and is not right for a woman or her family," said Diamond.

When FOX 4 asked if it should also be an employer's free choice to decide what they cover, others had a harder time answering.  Some say they'd still take a job, even if they disagreed with the boss's insurance coverage.

"If I had no choice but to work there, yeah, I mean most definitely.  I would be upset with it for sure," Melissa Morris said.

After hours of debate, the bill was set aside, possibly to be picked up again later this week.

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