Missouri Senate debates birth control coverage measure

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | 4:09 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — Several Missouri state senators are raising concerns about a proposal to let employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control and certain medical procedures.

The Senate set the bill aside after two hours of debate Tuesday but could return to it later this week.

Majority Republicans say employers should not have to pay for medical services they find morally objectionable. But some Democrats say the intent of the bill is to make it harder for women to get birth control.

Tuesday's debate comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama's administration tried to get employers such as Catholic hospitals to cover contraception as part of their health insurance plans. The administration now says insurance companies will pay for the contraception.

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