JEFFERSON CITY — Debate over birth control is building within Missouri's Capitol.
A state Senate committee endorsed legislation Tuesday allowing employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control, abortions or sterilization procedures, if doing so would go against an employer's religious beliefs.
The committee backed the measure in a 6-2 vote.
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 for Catholic and Baptist churches say they also support the measure.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Missouri said Lamping's proposal would make it harder for employees to get certain medical treatments, even if the employees don't have the same religious beliefs as their employer.
The measure now goes to the full Senate.