In Missouri, legislators passed a bill, on Friday, that allows employers or health insurance providers to stop offering coverage for contraception, abortion, or sterilization if doing so violates their religious or moral convictions.
The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who has not said whether he supports the proposed law. While some Democrats opposed the bill, it passed the Senate 28-6 and the House 105-33.
Rep. Stacey Newman (D) said that the bill would endanger women’s access to health care: “This is wrong and I dare you to go home and talk to your daughters … and say, ‘Look, what we’re going to say is that your employers’ religious beliefs matter more than your own.’"
The bill states that no employer or health plan provider can be compelled to provide coverage or be penalized for refusing to cover abortion, contraception or sterilization if those items run contrary to their religious or moral convictions. The bill also gives the state attorney general grounds to sue other governmental officials or entities that infringe on the rights granted in the legislation.
“This bill is about religious freedom and moral convictions,” said Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo. “This is about sending a message to the federal government that we don’t like things rammed down our throat.”