Missouri senator pushes for religious exception for distributing birth control

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | 7:31 a.m. CST; updated 9:22 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 14, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — A debate is starting to build at the Missouri Capitol about birth control.

A Senate committee scheduled a hearing Tuesday on legislation allowing employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control, abortions or sterilization procedures, if doing so would go against the employer's religious beliefs.

Sponsoring Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, said health insurance is a benefit and that employers should decide how it is structured.

Representatives from Planned Parenthood of Missouri spoke out against the Senate bill Monday, as did several Democratic lawmakers. They said the Senate proposal would essentially allow employers to deny their employees necessary medical care, even if the employees don't share their religious beliefs.


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