Thursday, September 13, 2012

Missouri Legislature Overrides Veto On Health Care Conscience Provisions; Lawsuit Filed

In a move to oppose the federal mandate on contraception coverage in health insurance policies, the Missouri legislature yesterday voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of SB 749. The bill permits employers, employees and insurance companies to opt out of providing health insurance coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization where the procedures are contrary to the person's religious beliefs or moral convictions. Nixon had vetoed the bill (veto message) because it permits insurance companies to deny contraceptive coverage even where employers and their women employees want such coverage.  The vote to override the governor's veto was 26-6 in the state Senate and 109-45 in the House. (Roll call.) The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that just hours after the override vote, a federal lawsuit challenging the law was filed by the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women and a female firefighter. The suit claims that the law discriminates on the basis of gender and religion, and is contrary to federal law.

UPDATE: According to Missouri Watchdog, the lawsuit challenging the new law was filed in state court in Cole County (MO).