Planned Parenthood says Missouri legislators are treating women as second class citizens, and are putting employers in charge of women’s reproductive health decisions.
“Today, the Missouri legislature callously ignored the 700,000 Missouri women that use some form of birth control, and — by allowing SB749, the Birth Control Refusal bill to become law — put employers and insurers in charge of their birth control decision-making,” Planned Parenthood says in a press release.
“The Missouri legislature, beholden to lobbyists that see an abortion in every birth control pill, has done a huge disservice to all Missouri women,” says Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “Birth control is not just basic, preventive health care for women, it is a pocketbook issue. Without this new birth control coverage benefit, many women will now have to continue paying $15 to $50 a month on top of their premium. When you live paycheck to paycheck, that’s a lot of money!”
The republican-controlled legislature passed SB749 last session in response to a proposal that would require most health insurance plans to cover birth control as preventive care with no additional co-pays. Gov. Jay Nixon, a democrat, vetoed the bill on July 12.
Planned Parenthood of Missouri and Kansas has responded by saying, “We know the overwhelming majority of Americans in the country agree that women should have access to birth control, no matter where they work. Today, our legislators ignored that message and told women loud and clear ‘your decisions don’t matter’. This legislature is out of touch and does not understand — or care — about increasing the economic burden for Missouri women.”
Planned Parenthood adds that 99 percent of sexually experienced women in the U.S. have used birth control, including 98 percent of Catholic women. The organization also says an overwhelming majority of American women believe that birth control should not be part of the national political debate, 57 percent think religiously affiliated hospitals should cover contraception at no cost, and 61 say insurance companies should cover the full cost of birth control.
Planned Parenthood reaffirms that it does not exist to serve only birth control and abortion demands, but also serves more than 80,000 women, men and teens annually with cancer screenings, well-woman exams, education programs, and STD prevention and treatment.