I heartily applaud Governor Nixon’s veto last week of SB749 which would have given employers, not women, the ability to make birth control decisions.
SB749, sponsored by our own State Senator John Lamping, would have made it possible for any "employer, health plan provider, health plan sponsor, health care provider, or any other person or entity" to refuse to provide coverage for contraception, abortion, or sterilization on the basis of religious objections.
This veto is the right thing.
I have faith in Missouri’s women. We do not need the Missouri legislature in our doctor’s offices when we make personal reproductive healthcare decisions. Nor do we need our employers undermining widely popular proposals requiring most health insurance plans to cover birth control as preventive care with no additional co-pays.
Read Governor Nixon’s veto letter HERE.
As the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, I argued loudly against birth control restrictions on the House floor this past session - that is, when I was recognized to speak. You might recall last February the House GOP silenced me and six other women legislators, refusing to allow us to speak for over three hours on a similar bill, HCR41, regarding birth control access and religious freedom.
Opponents of SB749 include Missouri AFL-CIO who said:
“Working people should be able to continue to make decisions based on their own religious beliefs and moral convictions, not those of their employer."
"With women now making up more than half of America’s workforce, it is crucial that we, as the labor movement, continue to defend the rights of all women and all workers against any effort to allow employers to dictate the quality of women’s health care."
Challenging the rights of women to be self-determining — not under the sway of her church, her government or her employer — is exactly what the Republican-led assault on women across the nation is about.
Stay tuned as we begin the work to sustain the veto of SB749.
I assure you I will be working hard to encourage all of my colleagues to stand strong and support women & their families during the legislative veto session on September 12th.