A State Senate committee has passed legislation that would allow employers in Missouri to refuse insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations – that is, if providing coverage for those services would violate the employer’s religious beliefs.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County, says employers should have the right to decide which benefits to offer to their workers.
Planned Parenthood lobbyist Michelle Trupiano spoke against the bill before the committee vote today:
“Increased access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, as well as other health benefits,” said Trupiano. “It’s not always used just to prevent pregnancy…women should not be denied access to this benefit just because they work for a religious employer.”
The bill passed five to two along party lines.
It was filed in response to President Obama’s recent requirement that church-run institutions provide insurance coverage for birth control. That mandate has since been amended to require insurance companies to provide coverage if a religious employer refuses to do so.
The measure now goes to the full Senate for debate.
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