Missouri Legislature Overturns Nixon's Veto on Anti-Contraception Bill

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Government so small, it fits in your uterus.

It's official: In Missouri, employers, insurance companies or anyone else involved in a woman's health care can legally refuse to cover the Pill.

In a not-so-surprising move, both houses of the Missouri Legislature voted to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 749.

SB 749 gives any "employer, health plan provider, health plan sponsor, health care provider, or any other person or entity" the ability to refuse to provide coverage for contraception, abortion, or sterilization. Naturally, SB 749 does not allow employers or insurers to deny coverage of male sterilization (because there ain't nothin' in the Bible about vasectomies).

Nixon had vetoed the bill in July on the grounds that opt-outs exist under current law for employers who don't want to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. This bill though, Nixon said, gives insurance companies the unprecedented power to deny coverage to people, even when they and their employers want it.

"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," Nixon said in July. "That would be a step backward for Missouri."

The St. Louis Archdiocese--one of the bill's biggest supporters--released a statement celebrating the legislature's narrow 2/3 majority vote.

"Today's override is a powerful pro-life statement, one that gives us hope that conscience rights will be extended to all U.S. citizens," the statement read. "We thank the people of Missouri for your prayers and for your tireless efforts to protect our first, most-cherished freedom."

The House secured the override with not a vote to spare: 109-45, an exact 2/3 majority.

Seven Democrats crossed party lines to vote in favor of the override. STL blogger @MO_Snark made a handy chart:

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In case you didn't notice, they are all white males with various degrees of greying hair/hairline recession.

The ever-clever Richard Callow, of the public relations firm Public Eye, had a helpful suggestion for the bill's most vocal opponent, Rep. Stacey Newman.

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Identifying a woman's uterus on a chart might be easier said than done for 80 percent of the Missouri legislature. Of the 197 members of the House and Senate, only 46 are women.



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