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11:50 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Nixon vetoes controversial contraception bill

Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have exempted religious organizations from covering contraception under their health insurance plans, if that coverage would go against the organizations' beliefs. Nixon said in his remarks that existing law adequately protects religious liberties.

But Senate Bill 749, he said, would allow insurance companies to "override the rights and beliefs of employees," by not covering contraception.

"For the first time, this bill would allow insurance companies to impose their will, and deny contraceptive coverage to women – even if women and their employers want it included," Nixon said in remarks at a press conference in Jefferson City this morning. "We want families making these decisions – not insurance companies. For that reason, I am vetoing this bill."

The contraception coverage mandate is part of the federal health care law, which requires health insurance plans to include free access to preventive care. In January, Health and Human Services announced preventive care would include contraception, and set off a storm of protest from religious groups and conservative lawmakers.