JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill that would have put state law in conflict with the new federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives.
The vetoed bill would allow employers and insurers not to provide coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such procedures violated their religious beliefs or moral convictions. The federal Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control.
But in vetoing the measure, Nixon sidestepped the national debate over religious liberty pertaining and birth control.
Nixon said he voted the law because it shifted too much power to insurance companies.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he would try to override the veto in September.
Supporters of the bill, including the Archdiocese of St. Louis, claim Missouri needs to step up in the protection of religious liberty.
Opponents, including Planned Parenthood, claims the law would limit access to health care and put women’s health care in the hands of their employers.
The bill passed the Missouri House by a 105-33 vote and the state Senate by a 28-6 vote in May. An override would require 109 votes in the House and 23 votes in the Senate.