Missouri Senator Seeks to Halt Federal Mandate Requiring Health Coverage for Contraceptives, Abortion Drugs

The Missouri Senate is responding swiftly to a new mandate by the Obama Administration that requires religious employers to offer health coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion drugs. Sen. John Lamping (R-St. Louis) filed SB 749 to halt the mandate recently promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Sen. John Lamping
Sen. John Lamping

The HHS mandate requires all employers, effective Aug. 1, 2012, to provide coverage in their health plans for contraceptives, abortion-inducing emergency contraceptives such as Ella (ulipristal acetate), and sterilization procedures, provision of which the Catholic Church condemns.

The mandate has a limited religious exemption that would protect only those Catholic institutions that seek to inculcate Catholic values, and which “primarily” employ and serve Catholics. Thus at a minimum, Catholic hospitals, universities and charity organizations that serve non-Catholics would not qualify for the exemption.

The legislation states that no employer or health plan shall be required to provide health coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such items are contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the employer.

The bill also would prevent the government from discriminating against or penalizing an employer or health plan for refusing to provide such coverage. Under the bill, individuals could not be forced to purchase health plans that include coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such items violate their religious or moral beliefs.

“The Obama Administration has decided that virtually unfettered access to contraceptives, abortion-inducing emergency contraceptives and sterilization is more important than the religious liberty of Americans and people of faith,” said Mike Hoey, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference. “We applaud Sen. Lamping for bringing this matter before the Missouri General Assembly for debate and consideration.”

Sen. Lamping commented, “I want to send a message to Washington that the people of Missouri will not stand for this intrusion on religious liberty.”

“Catholic hospitals and Catholic Charities provide services for millions of non-Catholics in the U.S., and they do not discriminate against those of other faiths when they decide whom to treat and to serve,” said Hoey.

Co-sponsoring SB 749 are Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) and Sen. Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City).

Send a thank you email to the sponsor and co-sponsors of SB 749.

13 thoughts on “Missouri Senator Seeks to Halt Federal Mandate Requiring Health Coverage for Contraceptives, Abortion Drugs

  1. Margaret Olds says:

    Thank you for standing up for what you believe, and for the rest of the true beleivers. They keep allowing access to legal abortion, birth contrl pills and all types of contraceptives, and I see children without A father. Sex is no longer between A husband and wife . It,s A free for all. I would suggest that the president, congress, and all thoose who forgot how to love our children and teach them the true meaning of parent hood. They should watch the movie Courages before they sign anymore bills

  2. Annette Eaton says:

    Thank you for your stand with Roman Catholics and my God Bless You, and Blessings to the President that he change his mind toward this imposition and his stance on abortion. A Blessing to all the girls and boys who will not abstain. They will find true happiness in The Lord for a lifetime, not a few seconds of devil inspired sex.

  3. Pam Tyrrell says:

    Thank you for SB 749. Can. 1398 of the Code of Canon Law (internal law of the Roman Catholic Church) states that “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.” This includes the person who pays for (taxpayers), performs, or has an abortion. The President’s mandate gives Catholics three choices: automatic excommunication (hell), quit our jobs (unemployment), or break the law (jail). The Church doesn’t have the authority to comply with the HHS mandate. It violates the Church’s prime directive to protect the goods of man – God’s commandments, His sacraments, and the gospels.

  4. Doug Indeap says:

    Notwithstanding wild-eyed cries to the contrary, THE HEALTH CARE LAW DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS–unless one supposes the employers’ religion forbids even the payment of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion).

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, negligence, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate. When moral binds for individuals can be anticipated, provisions may be added to laws affording some relief to conscientious objectors.

    Here, there is no need for such an exemption, since no employer is being “forced,” as some commentators rage, to act contrary to his or her belief. In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide their employees with any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide their employees with health plans that do not qualify (e.g., ones without provisions they deem objectionable) and pay lower assessments.

    The employers may not like paying the assessments or what the government will do with the money it receives. But that is not a moral dilemma of the sort supposed by many commentators, but rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action of the government. That is hardly call for a special “exemption” from the law. Should each of us feel free to deduct from our taxes the portion that we figure would be spent on those actions (e.g., wars, health care, whatever) each of us opposes?

    • Tyler McClay says:

      Doug,

      The HHS mandate does, in fact, mandate that all employers provide health care coverage for their employees for sterilization procedures, abortion-inducing emergency contraception, and contraceptive drugs. There is no opt out, unless an employer wants to pay a $2,000 penalty per covered employee. An employer of 1,000 people would thus pay a $2,000,000 fine annually!! Quite a penalty to preserve a basic First Amendment right.

      Only religious employers who “primarily” employ and serve members of their own faith can qualify for an exemption from the mandate. Thus Catholic Charity organizations, Catholic hospitals, and Catholic Universities and schools cannot claim exemption under the narrow religious exemption. Thus they would be required to provide coverage for these “preventative services” in violation of their conscience.

      For more information, I would refer you to the USCCB’s website http://www.usccb.org/conscience

      Tyler McClay
      General Counsel, Missouri Catholic Conference

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