Contraception Coverage Bill Hits Senate Floor

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JEFFERSON CITY - Several Missouri state senators are fighting a proposal to let employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control and certain medical procedures.

KOMU 8 spoke with Senator John Lamping, the bill's sponsor, Tuesday. He said discussion ran about 90 minutes and mostly consisted of clearing up confusion over the bill's conscience clause.

He said the bill, if passed, would make two important changes. It would compel the state attorney general to sue the federal government and give employers the right to refuse to offer contraception coverage if it violates their religious beliefs. He said the Senate might continue with conversation tomorrow or next week.

Senator Callahan called the bill "poorly written," saying state law already offers religious organizations the opportunity to opt-out of coverage.

Majority Republicans say employers should not have to pay for medical services they find morally objectionable. But some Democrats say the intent of the bill is to make it harder for women to get birth control.

Tuesday's debate comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama's administration tried to get employers such as Catholic hospitals to cover contraception as part of their health insurance plans. The administration now says insurance companies will pay for the contraception.

Image courtesy of Flickr from user starbooze.