JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have banned mandatory insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization and abortion.
Nixon said Thursday that the legislation was unnecessary. He noted a 2001 Missouri law already allows insurers to offer policies without contraception coverage to people or employers who say it violates their moral or religious beliefs.
The Democratic governor said the new bill could have let insurance companies deny contraception coverage to people who desired it.
The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature was intended as a rebuff of a policy by President Barack Obama's administration that requires insurers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women, including those working at some religious nonprofits.
Nixon had received more than 10,000 messages urging him to sign or veto the legislation.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis issued the following response following Governor Nixon's decision to veto SB 749:
"His failure to sign this critically important legislation
weakens the rights of Missouri citizens leaving them without full protection of their religious liberties. SB 749 would have required insurance companies to let people know up front whether a proposed policy included coverage for abortions or contraceptives. It would have allowed those with objections on moral grounds to have insurers exclude these items from employee's health plans. This is a profound missed opportunity to assert conscience rights for Missouri citizens when those rights are in jeopardy from the federal HHS mandate. At this time, we encourage Missouri legislators to override Governor Nixon's veto during the veto session in September. We encourage Catholics and people of all faith to continue to pray for religious liberty in our state and in our nation."
Contraception bill is SB749.
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