Missouri Governor vetoes anti-birth control bill
Missouri’s Republican Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed a bill that would allow insurance companies to deny contraceptive coverage to women by citing religious or moral objections.
Stressing that Missouri law already provides “strong religious and moral protections” for employees and employers to opt out of contraceptive coverage, Nixon said SB 749 would set a “dangerous precedent” by allowing insurance companies to “impose their will” and deny birth control coverage to women and employers who want it.
“This bill would allow insurance companies to override the rights and beliefs of employees and employers,” said Nixon. “By doing so, the bill would shift authority to make decisions about access to contraceptive coverage away from Missouri women, families and employers – and put that power in the hands of insurance companies. That would be a step backward for Missouri. This could also set a dangerous precedent for the future and other types of health care services, such as end-of-life care or cancer screenings.”
SB 749 would allow any “health plan provider, health plan sponsor, health care provider” to refuse coverage for contraceptions or any other related items or medical procedures if they run “contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions” of private insurers.
Nixon’s veto was welcomed by the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
“We applaud Governor Nixon’s veto. Given that the vast majority of Missourians support access to birth control, we know they are applauding the Governor too,” said Mary Kogut, Vice President of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “Legislators, employers and insurers should not be making decisions for the women and families of Missouri.”
According to a 2009 research by the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of Missouri women ages 13 to 44 – totaling nearly 680,000 – use some form of birth control. The Guttmacher Institute also found that 99% of sexually active women nationwide use some form of contraceptive to prevent unplanned pregnancy, including 98% of Catholic women.
- Governor.Mo.gov: Remarks by Gov. Nixon today in signing and vetoing bills
- Planned Parenthood: Governor Nixon Stands Up for Birth Control – Rejects SB749
- The Guttmacher Institute: Contraceptive needs and services 2006 – Missouri (PDF)
- The Guttmacher Institute: New evidence on religion and contraceptive use – April 2011 (PDF)
- Missouri State Senate: Senate Bill 749 (PDF)
- Missouri State Senate: Vote record for SB 749 (PDF)
- Missouri House of Representatives: Vote record for SB 749 (PDF)