Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have blocked mandatory insurance coverage for for abortion, contraception or sterilization for those who have moral, religious or ethical objections to those procedures. It would also prevent employees or employers from being penalized for refusing to have or offer such coverage.
Nixon says the bill would have allowed insurance companies to make the decision to deny such coverage even when employers and employees want it.
“This bill would allow insurance companies to override the rights and beliefs of employers and employees. By doing so, the bill would shift authority to make decisions about access to contraceptive coverage away from Missouri women, families and employers and put that power in the hands of insurance companies. That would be a step backwards for Missouri.”
Nixon says Missouri law already has, and he supports, such protections.
“Our existing law protects those religious liberties, and it respects individual rights. The current law was passed overwhelmingly, it has been on the books for years, and it works.”
Nixon says a “worthwhile idea” in the bill is a provision requiring notice be given to opt in or out of coverage.
“If the legislature were to pass a bill that includes the additional notice requirement for insurance policies without limiting access to contraception or shifting authorities to insurance companies, I would give that bill serious consideration and I’m certainly open to discussions about what that bill would need to look like.”
The bill’s backers say it would have blocked federal policy from making religious organizations pay for coverage for procedures they object to. Nixon says he didn’t consider that conflict in making his veto decision.
“My focus was on what this Missouri law would do in Missouri.”