People ask the Missouri Catholic Conference if SB 749 will be necessary if the infamous HHS contraceptive mandate is rescinded or held invalid by the courts. The answer is “YES.” True, the government could no longer force people to pay for abortion drugs or contraceptives in their health plans. There would, however, still be a very big problem.
An insurance company could still refuse to write a policy that excludes contraceptives or abortion drugs. After all, writing such “kosher” policies is a bit of an administrative hassle. The insurance company could tell you – the consumer – “we don’t offer such a policy, but check with company B.”
SB 749, however, requires insurance companies to put consumers on notice as to whether a proposed plan covers items such as abortions and contraceptives. And if the consumer has moral or religious objections to abortions or contraceptives, the insurance company must write a policy that excludes these items.
SB 749 therefore recognizes that religious liberty can be jeopardized not only by government but also by a supposed “free market” that refuses to honor the moral and religious convictions of consumers. If Gov. Nixon signs SB 749, Missouri will have one of the nation’s strongest laws protecting conscience rights in the insurance market.