Wrangle Over Contraceptives in Missouri

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – The Missouri Legislature overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would let employers refuse to cover contraceptives in health care policies for religious reasons, but the move already has met legal resistance.
     Hours after lawmakers overrode the veto on Wednesday, The Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women and a female firefighter filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court, claiming the override violates federal law and discriminates by gender and religion.
     At issue is the new federal mandate requiring employers to offer birth-control coverage in employee health plans.
     The new Missouri law states that employers cannot be required to cover contraception, abortion or sterilization if those services violate the employers’ religious or moral convictions.
     Supporters of the bill call it a fight for religious freedom.
     Opponents say it could limit access to affordable birth control for thousands of Missouri women.
     The override easily passed the Senate, but House Republicans needed six Democrats to cross party lines to get the 109 votes needed.
     In its lawsuit, The Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women asked a Cole County Circuit Judge to enjoin enforcement of the law.

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