Legislation that would allow employers to block insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations, all for religious reasons, has passed a Missouri Senate committee.
The bill was filed in response to President Obama’s recent mandate that church-run institutions provide coverage for birth control – that mandate has since been amended to require insurers to provide coverage if a religious employer refuses to do so. Bishop John Gaydos, representing Missouri’s Catholic bishops, spoke in favor of the bill:
“This legislation will place in state law a strong and clear prohibition on government infringement on religious liberty and send a strong message to Congress that Missouri opposes the federal government trampling on our religious freedom,” Gaydos said.
Opponents testified that birth control procedures have health benefits beyond just preventing pregnancies, and that women should not be denied access just because they work for a religious employer.
The bill now goes before the full Missouri Senate.