Is Missouri’s Governor Planning to Let Employers Deny Women Reproductive Health Coverage?


Early in June, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would allow employers to refuse insurance coverage for abortions, sterilizations, and even coverage of contraception.  Since the passage of the bill, the legislation has sat on Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s desk, waiting for a signature or a veto.

He’s given neither.

It’s been standard procedure of the governor to simply let anti-choice legislation go into effect without signing it.  In February he said the bill was redundant, as there was already “a strong religious and moral exemption on the books” in the state.

If it’s redundant, than why is Nixon so unwilling to veto?

Alison Gee, Vice President of Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region, expressed concern that the legislation is “an attempt to undermine” the no co-pay rule established under the Affordable Care Act, which would allow women access to these services through their private health insurance at no additional cost. By vetoing the legislation, Nixon would make it clear that he stands with women and their families when it comes to making choices about their own health care needs.

“A veto from Governor Nixon would send a huge message to women and families in this state that he stands with them for fairness, equality, and good preventive health care,” said Alison Gee, Vice President of Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region.

“After all, why should women in Missouri receive less coverage than women in every other state?”

Governor Nixon is expected to announce at an 11 a.m. central press conference whether or not he will veto the legislation.

UPDATED: Nixon has vetoed the bill, saying the legislation would  “impose its will, and deny inclusion of contraceptive coverage, even if that position is inconsistent with the rights and beliefs of the employee or employer.”

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