Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have allowed employers and health insurers to decide not to provide birth-control coverage, arguing that it would shift too much power to insurance companies.
With his veto, the Democrat headed off a direct conflict with the federal requirement that employers and insurance companies must provide contraception coverage unless it runs contrary to religious beliefs and moral convictions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Nixon said Missouri law already protects employers who object to the coverage and noted that giving health insurers the power to deny it up front would have weakened the state protection.
“We want families making these decisions — not insurance companies,” he said.
But Republican state Sen. John Lamping, the bill’s sponsor, said he would mount an effort to persuade the GOP-controlled legislature to override Nixon’s veto. He called the governor’s reason for killing the measure “a made-up argument.”
“I think he’s just trying to thread the political needle,” he said.
The Catholic archdiocese of St. Louis also called the veto “a profound missed opportunity to assert conscience rights for Missouri citizens when those rights are in jeopardy.” The U.S. Catholic Church has filed lawsuits in several states challenging the federal mandate on contraception coverage as unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the bill’s opponents, including the Missouri AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood, said it would have limited healthcare access for women and put their health in the hands of insurance companies.
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