Judge Down Portion of Missouri Birth Control Law in Conflict with Obamacare
March 19, 2013

(via JohnCombest.com)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS/AP) – A federal judge has struck down a Missouri health insurance law because it conflicts with a federal mandate for insurers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig cited a provision in the U.S. Constitution declaring that federal laws take precedence over contradictory state laws.

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature overrode the veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon last September to enact a law that appeared to be the first in the nation to directly rebut the Obama administration’s contraception policy. The Missouri law required insurers to issue policies without contraception coverage if individuals or employers objected because of religious or moral beliefs.

Fleissig had issued a temporary restraining order against Missouri’s law last December.

Hamner Hill, the Department Chairperson of the Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion Department at Southeast Missouri State said he’s not surprised by the judge’s decision.

He thought it was an easy call based on what the U.S. Constitution says, federal law takes precedence over state law.

Missouri Senate Approves Birth Control Restriction Measure
March 29, 2012

(AP) – The Missouri Senate has approved legislation letting employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control in some instances.

The legislation, passed Thursday on a voice vote, would let employers deny coverage unless an employee has a medical need for birth control. The measure now goes to the Missouri House.

Sponsoring Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, says business owners should not have to pay for medical procedures they find morally objectionable.

Some Senate Democrats said the bill would make it more difficult for women to obtain contraception. They also said most of the bill’s provisions are already in state law, and that Republicans merely bought the bill up to appease conservative religious voters.

Another Rally Planned for Capitol Today, the Only Way Rush & Women’s Rights Get Together
March 28, 2012

A day after a big rally at the Missouri State Capitol Tuesday, another is in the works for Wednesday (see previous post).
Opponents of President Obama’s health care law staged a rally Tuesday urging Missouri lawmakers not to set up the new law’s state health exchange.
Wednesday, organizers of the ‘Rally Against Rush and for Women’s Health’, say they’ll gather at the state capitol.
Democratic Floor Leader Tishaura Jones and others will voice their objections to Rush Limbaugh, a bust in his honor in the capitol and legislation pending in the General Assembly. Jones, and others, think at least two proposed measures attack access to birth control.
Tuesday the Republican legislature moved ahead on two fronts.
The State Senate passed a bill letting employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control in some instances.
The House passed a bill permitting some health providers to refuse to be involved in procedures that may object to on moral or religious grounds.
Organizers of the Wednesday rally say they will deliver 35,000 letter to House Speaker Steve Tilley and Governor Jay Nixon.
Tilley authorized a bust of the conservative broadcaster be placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the state capitol. It became a cause after Limbaugh caught heat from the political left for calling woman who testified before Congress for access to birth control under the Affordable Health Care Act a “slut”.
A news release says the rally starts at 12:45 near the Riverside Fountain on the state capitol’s north side.

Bloomberg says Sebelius And Others Major Influences on Obama Contraception Stance
February 9, 2012

From Bloomberg News:
President Barack Obama ended months of internal White House debate by siding with a group of mostly female advisers who urged him not to limit a health-care law mandate to provide contraceptives, even at the risk of alienating Catholic voters in November, people familiar with the discussions said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic and a two-term governor of Kansas, was joined by several female Obama advisers in urging against a broad exemption for religious organizations. To do so would leave too many women without coverage and sap the enthusiasm for Obama among women’s rights advocates, they said, according to the people, who spoke about the deliberations on condition of anonymity.
Vice President Joe Biden and then-White House chief of staff Bill Daley, also Catholics, warned that the mandate would be seen as a government intrusion on religious institutions. Even moderate Catholic voters in battleground states might be alienated, they warned, according to the people familiar with the discussions.
The administration’s decision, announced Jan. 20, has quickly entered the presidential campaign. Republican rivals accuse Obama of trampling on religious freedom and Catholic bishops have ordered lectures from the pulpits across the nation.
Sebelius, in a three-minute interview in Washington on her way from a speech to her car, said Obama was “briefed along the way” before the Jan. 20 announcement. She said that she and Obama had met privately on the issue. She declined to discuss internal deliberations, including divisions among the administration or details of her discussions with Obama. “The decision was made by our department,” she said.
Asked how the decision and response has affected her as a Catholic, she said it was a policy decision and that the administration balanced the needs of millions of women who rely on contraceptives with the concerns of religious organizations.
The decision will require most employers to cover contraception through their employee health insurance at no added cost to the employees. Nonprofits that don’t cover contraceptives now have until August 2013 to adjust. Houses of worship and nonprofit religious groups that primarily employ and serve people of the same religious faith would be exempt, while religious hospitals and universities would not.