A federal court has struck down a Missouri law allowing local employers to deny their employees access to affordable birth control under the federal health care overhaul law. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig cites a provision in the U.S. Constitution declaring that federal laws take precedence over contradictory state laws.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, in a prepared press release, are calling the ruling a victory.

“This is a victory for Missouri women and their families, says Peter Brownlie, President/CEO, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “This ruling ensures that all Missouri women — no matter who their boss is — have access to basic preventive health care without a co-pay, including birth control. This is a decision for women, not their bosses to make. Bosses don’t have to take birth control, and they don’t have to pay for it — and thanks to the Federal court ruling, they can’t decide whether the women who work for them are able to have birth control covered by their insurance like any other prescription.”

The release estimates that nearly 940,000 Missouri women stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s preventive health care benefit, including access to no-copay birth control, which went into effect in August of last year. 

“Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers in Missouri see nearly 80,000 individuals for medical and educational services, including birth control,” the release says. “Nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides birth control for 2.5 million patients.”