Republicans vote to ban contraception in Missouri for religious reasons
Republicans in Missouri have voted to overturn the veto of Democratic Governor Jay Nixon that will now legally allow "religious" and "moral" exemptions in health insurance policies. Democrats are calling it an assault on women, and Republicans say it allows people to not be forced to deny their faith.
What is at issue, however, is not the faith of those who don't believe in contraception but rather how the religious beliefs of legislators will now be forced on citizens of Missouri. The Republican battle cry is that of religious freedom, but they seem to forget about the religious freedom guaranteed to all citizens, and that freedom includes protecting citizens from religious zealots.
The veto vote went completely down party lines, passing the Missouri House 109 - 45. 109 votes is the minimum amount needed to pass a veto. The Senate also approved the measure 26 - 6.
Many Democratic lawmakers believe this move by Republicans will cost the state in the long run, and will make Missouri vulnerable to the now inevitable lawsuits where citizens will sue based upon being discriminated for religious reasons.
StLToday.com locally reported on the press conference held by Democrats who were uniformly disgusted at this veto. Representative Jill Schupp said:
"To make a woman pay for birth control on top of premium payments has real economic consequences.Thatís the equivalent of five weeks of basic groceries for a family of four, or 14 tanks of gas in the minivan or four hours of tuition at a community college. For a family living paycheck-to-paycheck, imagine the impact as they might have to make a choice between birth control and groceries."